Tag Archives: #reintegration

Decriminalizing Human Pain…

#TammyTangentTuesdays Tammy Ingram on demoralizing human pain.    My silence means I’m tired of fighting.

Decriminalizing Human Pain Requires Investing In People, Not Prisons!

Days are long and lack glamour. Darkness and danger are no longer my shadow. Instead, they outline the green eyes underneath the aging facade and eyewear. I’ve grown accustomed to this new look. Hurt people hurt others, but healed people heal.

Days turn into weeks. Weeks into months. Before I knew it, a whole year had passed consumed with a new role. I often marvel at the thought: How does a beloved who once drove herself off a 350-foot cliff being suicidal circle back?

A survivor of violent crimes stemming from assaults from white, brown and black men heal, with obvious battle scars that one can’t cover over, and give back?

A woman who was once married to a Deputy Sheriff/Correctional Officer that went south real quick and press through honoring?

And a mother whose son is finishing time for his crime in state prison and see a great need, a cause worth fighting for?

Sure, being a chaplain helped, but that’s not what restored my sight.

These deep hurts cause people to make poor decisions and become incarcerated. This is what our state prisons are overwhelmed with; people like me, people with deep hurts that were forgotten.

How does one circle back through that trauma to organizing a nonprofit that many say women don’t belong in because of the darkness and danger?

Really?

I’m sure if you asked Mother Theresa, she’d say, “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord Himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”

Better yet, ask one of my heroes who has done a tremendous job changing the abuses in the correctional system, Terri McDonald, who even looks like my mother equipped with my quirkiness.

God’s amazing like that, you know!

Terri McDonald is President of the Association of Women Executives in Corrections, 24-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, who held both titles of Chief Deputy Secretary and Undersecretary.

She’s a former Assistant Sheriff for L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and who holds the esteemed title of Chief Probation Officer with the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

She’s all about doing the hard stuff…

Blameless and Forever  Free Ministries when will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery , rather than avenge it?

I can’t hold a candle to that resume, nor would I want to; but what I do hold is a life covered in God’s grace, love and transformation that sustained and delivered healing.

Amazing how God turns our insecurities, indiscretions, faulty character traits and behaviors in need of fine tuning into courage, compassion and confidence to walk through crises all for His plan and purpose.

If God’s transforming power can do all of that for me, helping me forgive my assailants and healing my deep emotional hurts, He can and will touch the lives of our incarcerated reentering society.

From Prison To Community – Where Punishment Ends and Healing Begins!

I believe poverty deserves compassion, not punishment. Addiction needs treatment, not a jail sentence. Mental illness requires care, not a cage. And I’m a HUGE supporter of decriminalizing human pain which requires investing in lives, not prisons.

And that requires a whole new mindset and a whole lot of grace. I don’t have all the answers, make multiple mistakes, but I’m a firm believer that God didn’t create and design us to sit back and expect others to initiate change. If we want safer communities and changed lives, we have to put our faith into action and sit in the trenches with them.

The inarcerated’s need to be loved, forgiven and healed is unashamedly obvious!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is advocating as Ambassadors of Hope for restorative justice. Restorative justice is responding to crime and violence in a way that transforms the focus through A.R.T.: Shifting punishment to responsibility (Accountability), rehabilitation and restoration (Reintegration), leading to redemption (Transformation).

We are created in God’s image; therefore, we are God’s masterpiece, His work of ART!

America is the land of the second chance. And when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life, George W. Bush

We operate believing this ART approach not only holds the offender accountable, but it becomes the very stepping stones leading to healing for all beloveds impacted by crime: our victims, the offenders, the families and our communities. And that includes those working in the criminal justice system.

This illustrates really God’s heart of justice: Valuing all human life while promoting accountability. This cultivates community engagement. Together, it changes the culture, inspires the church, and advances justice reform.

The struggle is just one part of the story. Incarceration IS and will ALWAYS be PART of the STORY!

C.W. Lewis proclaims God’s Absolute Truth perfectly, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

Blameless is founded on the premise that God’s Great Love Changes Everything. In order to hear, we must listen. Find the need behind the need. Hurt people hurt others, but healed people heal! Listening requires engagement. Engagement understands what happens in prison does not stay in prison!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries From Prison To Community

From Prison to Community – Where Punishment Ends and Healing Begins!

Decriminalizing human pain requires investing in people, not prisons. Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is launching their building campaign to open up a reentry program center built on the gifts and professions of many lives and partners willing to invest in, build up, participate and bring hope and healing to tragic situations for ALL.

That’s Blameless’ mission: Organized to reduce recidivism rates, expand community safety and awareness, and disrupt the cycle of re-offending.

Our goal is to equip beloveds who were incarcerated and lost to live the lives God created and designed them to live; empowering them to live with a purpose.

My silence means I’m tired of fighting. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.” Thank you, Michelle Obama.

Until next time…

Embracing Today’s Offender As Tomorrow’s Neighbor!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Imagination

Imagination – Preview Of Life’s Coming Attractions!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Imagination - Preview of Life's Coming Attractions

Imagination – Preview of Life’s Coming Attractions

Sitting isolated in the back of the inmate medical care unit, back pressed up against the cooling cinder block, my body aches with cheeks burning through flushes of fever. My breath quivers between the spell of violent shaking. I wasn’t certain if the unsettling chill that was running down my spine was due to the fever or from the tiny glimpses of thrilling freedom that lay outside the prison’s walls.

My delirious mind imagines the wind of icy fingers running through my hair as I watch the flag become a cape in the strengthening wind. The freedom of the American flag clothed me with hope while my parched throat swallowed what’s possible if I keep leaning in and looking up.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

Albert Einstein

There was a time when there was no hope for me, but somehow I encountered God who lit a fire deep within me. This flame was so glorious, it blinded the darkness lurking in my heart. But here I sit; I was set free. What once was so dark turned into an everlasting blaze of radiant light.

My mind bolts back to the kind and empowering words shared with me, “God must truly love you, and I mean A LOT!!! Our Lord doesn’t allow someone to go through these kind of adversities that you’ve experienced unless He has one special and unique calling on your life.”

The sting of the tease of what life feels like through the blowing breeze of freedom that would some day be possible lingers. The illusion of what is possible wars with the recognition of what freedom actually looks like when you’re shackled and imprisoned doing time for your crime.

Power of Purpose

The power of purpose helps keep the focus looking upward from the love and support of a community who refuses to throw away the keys of second and third chances.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries reminds Returning Citizens, "I am MORE than my MISTAKES!

I am more than my mistakes!

Acquiring the gift of insight into our own lives and purpose showcases how God is able to do abundantly more than all we could EVER ask or imagine!

Would you run and hide from the exposure of your own character flaws or would you be willing to develop a plan to make your dreams come true and be all who God created and designed you to be?

Now, realizing that in order to become a great leader, you had to learn and earn an advanced degree at the University of Adversity, your faith ushers evidence to, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

Finding a place in society is overwhelming. The first few weeks after release are the most stressful and demeaning as you try and fit in making what others might consider “normal decisions,” but when living institutionalized with minimal choices, it’s easier to make good decisions when they’re already made for you. Yes, even though you’re surrounded by criminal conduct.

It breaks my heart and messes with my head that you fear me. I get it!

But I imagine a community filled with patience, guidance and support. I don’t want to fail, trust me! Prison is hell. Some of us want to change. Imagining the extension of grace with compassion to fail along with the opportunity to get back up and start again is courage to succeed.

I imagine a Body helping me experience my plan and purpose from prison to community.

I’ve completed time in prison for my crime. I imagine my community supporting punishment’s end.

But that decision is yours to make.

The laws of discrimination are permanently seared into my life, so…

I just hope and pray you contain the diagnosis of criminality to loom inside the prison walls and not foreshadow my daunting prognosis.

I can only imagine what it will feel like when my community finds it in their hearts to allow me the opportunity to start over without the looming shadow of defeat and judgment. That was my companion in prison, but now I’m free and looking forward to experiencing what freedom looks like.

Until next time…

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries reports, Did you know 5 in 10 returning citizens have difficulty finding a job?