Tag Archives: #returningcitizens

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Tammy Ingram Foundet

Courage To Speak Up For Those Forgotten…

Social Justice Is…

Having Courage To Speak Up For Those Forgotten…

Being a catalyst of change requires strong influencers who stand on lasting values that the good news of the gospel presents.

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Bringing my Lord’s presence into a domain (prisons) that the enemy has held captive for centuries is daunting, but worthy of the challenge because after meeting hundreds of prisoners, they’re beloveds just like you and me who have made horrible mistakes and deserve a second chance.

This is why Blameless and Forever Free Ministries has transitioned over to the reentry side and will open up a center to help returning citizens succeed.

Most prisoners develop a deep and sincere desire to change their life circumstances through hope and motivation from family and/or religion. Focusing on this link and alternatives opens many doorways of opportunities in having goals filled with lifestyle changes.

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Prisons are set up for punishment, profit and containment. Prisoners need hope, motivation and rehabilitation.

Could you be caged up like an animal and live in close quarters with hundreds, if not thousands, of others and accept being told what to do, what to eat, what to wear, when to sleep, when to wake up, when to work, when to shower and when to talk to loved ones on the phone, while being surrounded by criminal conduct and make sound decisions once released?

You might begrudgingly say they’re lucky to have a cage to live in and food in their bellies after committing their crime, but…

How is that teaching them the power to rewrite their stories, you know, through recasting the drama and redirecting their actions?

Having the opportunity to impact their lives is the greatest reward possible and one in which requires softening up great opposition.

Discrimination, racism and negative social policies and laws have labeled returning citizens “once a felon, always a felon.” This caters to the belief and reason why our recidivism rates are so high.

When we force our returning citizens into this category, we wonder why they recommit and/or become homeless.

We are what we believe, and when we’re told over and over that we’re bad and menaces to society, it’s no wonder we find ourselves living under the spell of deceit and lies.

Good decision-making skills requires options. Surviving in prison surrounded by criminal conduct pretty much means association with the wrong crowd. It’s hard to make good choices when there are minimal options available to us. That requires many opportunities.

Prisons are full of beloveds who lack support, encouragement and visitation from loved ones.

Could you sustain hope and peace of mind without a covering of love?

When I was rejected and unloved, my decision-making skills needed help, too. Every decision I made was based on fear. That’s all I knew.

When you’re surrounded by criminal conduct, and most decisions are already laid out for you, without a covering of love, there is no hope or reason to strive forward in making changes.

Strong support and dedication is a rare and unique gift of hope that all incarcerated need.

Reentry process is more like a survival process. Survival of the fittest! This is why it’s imperative to surround ourselves with people who are going to lift us higher.

How can we expect our returning citizens to be productive members of society when we judge, ridicule and turn our backs on them? That doesn’t influence them to become better individuals, become assets to our communities or even make our communities safer.

Unconditional acts of kindness and love opens doorways to new lives and behaviors.

During times of challenge, frustration and failure, knowing that someone believes in you helps you try again. Introducing others to the love of Jesus provides this comfort in faith.

Every day we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Replacing discrimination with rehabilitation and hate with love will restore precious lives and teach us a thing or two about ourselves, too.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries understands returning citizens, I am more than my mistakes.

Prisoners need society to understand, I am more than my mistakes!

Until next time…

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?

Returning Citizens…

What Are Returning Citizens?

Good question! Returning citizens are beloveds reentering society, our communities, from their time served being incarcerated.

Time to make a change!

Since returning citizens are reentering society after serving time for their crime, creating safer and stronger communities must become a top priority for the success of their reentry and reintegration.

Successful reentry and recidivism is dependent upon a community-centered approach that requires bridging the gap between church and state; community organizations and governmental entities.

Who cares…

Everyone should!

Why should we concern ourselves with those who are a menace to society and who obviously didn’t care about following the rules and broke the law?

Walking alongside of those who have done time for their crime helps facilitate success promoting rehabilitation and sound decision-making skills for securing employment and being productive members of society.

They have paid their debt back to society through the punishment received in serving prison time.

We all want safer communities, right?

We all benefit when our returning citizens who leave prison have an education, a chance at higher education, a good job and a place to live.

Being productive members of society, it helps drive down future costs of corrections, reduces the crime rate, most definitely helps improve public safety, but it’s building a sense of community that our returning citizens need for lasting success.

Everyone needs and deserves to be surrounded with love and support! Re-offenders lack relationships, so it bodes well for all of us to walk alongside of them by not discriminating, but instead through rehabilitation.

Our returning citizens have been isolated for the most part during their incarceration and reminding them that they’re supported by their communities confirms that we want them to succeed. This introduces them to support and offers encouragement that they’re on the right path and there’s no longer any need to go through life alone without accountability.

Generous hearts believe that today’s offender will become tomorrow’s neighbor, so embracing our returning citizens by coming alongside of those who are exiting the criminal justice system provides the greatest opportunity for success.

We all have choices and love not only transforms from the inside out, but it leads to action.

Teaching others the value of walking together so that the world can believe in the power of God’s Great Love (John 17:23) is vital to a dignified life.

With advocacy and justice being at the very core of who God is, our prisons can no longer be considered a place solely to punish and reject. We must meet our offenders right where they’re at reconciling them to God.

We can’t just pretend to love others. We have to really love them! Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good (Romans 12:9).

After all, recidivism promotes public safety, builds stronger communities while strengthening collaboration with other agencies.

We’re better together!

Reentry provides those in our criminal justice system with a path towards becoming productive members of society after they have served time for the crimes committed.

Embracing Freedom Without Stigma!

If our Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom, it embodies hope and opportunities for those seeking a better life in America. Liberty and justice for all represents that the most basic human dignity starts with the land of second chances.

Statue of Liberty in New York City

Inspiring Second Chances Filled With Hope and Opportunity!

Until next time…