Tag Archives: #transformation

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…

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…

God Sees Beyond Our Right Now…

God Sees Beyond Our Right Now

When life isn’t exactly how we pictured it would be…

Facing seasons of disappointment and despair can leave us feeling isolated and alone.

Encouraging and inspiring our incarcerated can be a daunting lifestyle, but they deserve an outpouring of God’s Great Love.

Meeting our prisoners right where they’re at, determined not to leave them shackled in shame and guilt, surrounded by nothing but criminal conduct, is a priceless gift of Love.

It’s challenging to understand that during these grave times, being in a pit of hell, there are others in similar situations who have gone before us…

When you’re considered “incorrigible,” a “burden” or “a menace to society,” impervious to restraints and punishment, it’s hard to react/respond against this branding, this labeling, cauterized deep into one’s soul and flesh.

And we are, after all, a byproduct of our environment…

Discouragement leads to death and destruction. Being near the edge of the pit serves as a constant reminder that its edges of hell will swallow and take down those who dare come close.

Our incarcerated can only see and hear what’s inside their prison walls. They’re a number, not a person. It’s dark and it’s dangerous. It’s not filled with life and/or rehabilitation. It’s filled with segregated gangs; your color and ethnicity matters because that pre-determines your space, affiliation and housing and HIGHLY INFLUENCES what you learn and become.

But our Beautiful Jesus resides inside prisons and He reminds us through awareness that re-offenders lack relationships.

What would your faith look like if God said to you what He specifically spoke to my heart, There’s an amazing door of opportunity standing wide open for you [me] to minister here, even though there are many who oppose and stand against [you] me (1 Corinthians 16:9 TPT)?

Truly, God spoke those very words to my heart.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

As Christians, we are commanded to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice. What kind of Christians are we; ones with selective obedience accommodating our facades or are we, as a community, going to start loving more and rebuking division and strife like we’re commanded?

It’s not about us! Relationships matter. Re-offenders lack relationships!

Addressing our high recidivism rates requires programming and services essential to decrease the re-offender rates and foster successful community reentry. Reducing recidivism will benefit both our offenders and our communities.

When I personally think of despair and discouragement, I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible who had ample reason to be discouraged and knew what longstanding imprisonment offered.

Joseph endured the death of his mother, along with the conspiracy and hatred from his brothers.

Can you imagine the gut-punching torturous blow in being cast into a pit and then sold into slavery?

That’s unfathomable sibling rivalry.

Then to face imprisonment due to false accusations, OMG!!!

I don’t know about you, but my abandonment issues seem rather inconsequential.

Being molded by pain along with having a personal, intimate knowledge and relationship with God, allows us to survive and prosper where most would fail.

Being betrayed and deserted by family undoubtedly leaves deep emotional wounds that only God could graciously heal. Add in a long incarceration, being punished for doing what’s right, Joseph was even forgotten by those he helped.

But God doesn’t forget because He resides inside our prisons and knows what is on the other side of our circumstances.

Joseph’s life is one of God’s most powerful and miraculous stories of what redemption offers. Even saving his offensive family during the famine.

My heart of hearts believes that our beautiful Jesus wants to transform our deep losses and grave disappointments the same way He did for Joseph. God can and will make a way.

I don’t know about you, but I have decided to be a “Doer” of the Word and not just a “Hearer” that James 1:22 talks about.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries believes God allows crises or shows us problems so we can be part of the solution.

Relevant truth for today: Where we are RIGHT NOW is not our final destination, nor is it for our incarcerated.

Looking through the lens of God’s Great Love, we are able to believe that what lies ahead on the other side of our circumstances is greater strength and victory.

One bad circumstance leading to reintegration.

No story is beyond redemption.

We can’t overcome what we don’t confront.

Living for a cause greater than myself reminds me to maintain the rights of the oppressed that Psalm 82:3–4 expresses. This passion was birthed by a personal crisis which led to a bigger cause.

We need to prioritize what matters. It’s not so much about the events or the many circumstances of life, but our response to them. Our incarcerated haven’t responded appropriately and when they get out of prison after serving time for their crime, they will repeat if we do not intervene and start rehabilitating them while incarcerated.

The most important thing I pray our hearts remember, once our returning citizens are back into society, we need to be prepared to disciple them, encourage them and surround them with love while walking alongside of them. Being prepared to help, not discriminate, will ensure safer communities and society assets.

Until next time…

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13%3A3&version=NIV

Don’t Hate, Rehabilitate!

Don’t Hate, Rehabilitate!

When you’re surrounded for years with only other incarcerated beloveds and their criminal conduct, we wonder why our recidivism rates are so high!

Our prisoners need rehabilitation leading to transformation while they’re doing time for their crimes. Long-standing punishment without restoration is why two out of three offenders return back to state prison within three years after being released.

Hurt People Hurt Others!

Society will continue to pay with more crime, lives and homelessness if we do not step in and do more by intervening and moving them towards restoration, reintegration and redemption!

Embracing that today’s offender will be tomorrow’s neighbor supports the very core and mission of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries which is organized to reduce the recidivism rate, expand community safety and awareness, and disrupt the cycle of re-offending.

We need to do more! Introducing our incarcerated to Jesus by pouring His Great Love into their lives covers them with grace and motivation leading to transformation and a smoother transition back into society.

Reentry programs and the love of Jesus are a powerful tool for successful transitioning and are desperately needed in our prisons today. Otherwise, our incarcerated who have never dealt with what brought them to prison in the first place will be shackled with what they have picked up during their prison term: additional criminal conduct, habits and unhealthy behaviors that are being brought back into and infecting society.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).

Long-standing punishment has gotten us nowhere except for high recidivism rates. It’s time we start meeting and embracing our prisoners right where they’re at and pouring the love of Jesus into their lives. Their lives do matter!

Until next time…

Re-offending Lacks Relationship!

Relational Justice

Blameless Prison Doors

Relational Justice

When you think of offenders doing time for their crimes in state prison, what is your initial response?  Losers?  Criminals?  Drug addicts?  Who cares?

Who ends up in our prison system anyways?  Do we even care?  Or does our prison system take care of that for us? 

Being honest, I admit to being hypocritical; once considering them all vile through my own lens of judgment and condemnation until the Lord allowed a crisis to enter my own life to see who really exists inside this dark and dangerous dungeon. 

Their precious lives matter!

Realizing our prison system is broken and filled with the same repeat offenders, you know, the individuals who went to prison, served their time, got released, re-offended, and then goes back to prison and starts the whole process again; something needs to change.

If we’re all a part of each person’s contribution to society, good or bad, our hearts need compassion through awareness of what an incarcerated beloved goes through.

Being the founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, I know personally who ends up in our prison system:  Hurt people!  Hurt people hurt others!  When wounds stemming from childhood traumas or other hurts are never healed, other vices/actions often become the crutch in dealing with triggers and pain that’s been holding them captive in a torturing cell of hell.

Imagine being shackled in your own cell of hell while serving time behind bars in prison. We’re not negating the pain these prisoners have caused to others, but we’re sharing being caged up like an animal without rehabilitation is only going to make wounded hearts hardened and calloused. This leads them to continue to hurt others, even inside the prison walls.

 

I’ve experienced personally what unhealed pain has caused; the tearing apart of my own family along with hurting another and their family all in the name of fighting.  My son is being released from Folsom State Prison this year.  He has completed serving time for his crime and considers his incarceration a blessing in disguise.

But is society going to accept him back into population with open arms as he transitions or are the flaming arrows and emotional daggers going to penetrate deeper into an already wounded soul through discrimination, obstacles and judgment?

Relational Judgment

What many beloveds don’t realize is what our prisoners go through once they’re released and why rehabilitation is not only vital for our incarcerated, but for society as a whole.

Without transformation from rehabilitation, the incarcerated will never receive the opportunity to succeed with the many obstacles they face, and society will continue to absorb the cost, monetarily and/or possibly with lives, producing more victims leading us nowhere except entangled in this vicious cycle of broken people.

Suffering doesn’t have to lead us to constant failures where frustration and bitterness develops, but it should lead us instead into creative forces for positive changes.  That is transformation.  It can’t take place with just the offenders solely through long-standing punishment, society needs to play a proactive, integral role in transformation.  We are all a part of the solution and need to change.

Transformation is a process, not an overnight conversion and/or purpose.  Changing the way we utilize our prisons so people come out rehabilitated and not worse than what led them there in the first place is vital in building and giving hope to our prisoners.

 

Blameless State Prison Grounds
 

How can we do this?

Being the founder of Blameless, I sure don’t have all the answers, but I’m proactively working with the incarcerated and governmental entities and community members to help find the need behind the need and set up a plan of attack to help contribute to the lives that need help. Blameless believes not doing anything due to fear of failure is not acceptable when many lives are at stake.

With my 20 years experience in the law field, being a chaplain, serving on Folsom State Prison’s Inmate Family Council along with sharing the gospel with the incarcerated and their families, Blameless is now transitioning its focus towards the rehabilitation side and reentry programs for the incarcerated.

This is Blameless’ contribution to help stabilize the homeless epidemic. Without rehabilitation, most offenders will end up either homeless adding to our homeless epidemic or back into crime leading to more prison time.

Public safety issues effect more than just the criminal justice system.  Our prison systems are working towards rehabilitation, but it’s going to take continual effort with changes thinking outside the box.  The old ways are not working.

I believe relational justice must include God and His Great Love serving as the anchor for everything built upon it and will change the way our prisons function.  We will focus on making our offenders emotionally healthier from the inside out with tools to become better than when they entered prison.  This is instrumental in successful reentry before they’re released.

Punishment is never going to work being the long-lasting solution. Yes, offenders need to do time for their crimes, with their punishment meeting their crime, but they should be allowed to change before they’re released. And once they’ve done their time, they should be accepted back into society.

What good is it for society, much less the offender, to be released back into communities where incapacitation and preclusion rules?

Punishment can no longer be the sole answer.  Rehabilitation needs to exist along with punishment. Rehabilitation requires love and action. The vast majority of our incarcerated are never visited and/or encouraged and supported to help facilitate healthy hearts and minds.

Many chaplains, churches and nonprofits, along with our state prison systems, are transitioning into focusing on rehabilitation and God’s Great Love, but we need an army to stand on the front lines with the oppressed and fight injustice.

If deterrence worked, our prisons would be empty.

Transformation is a process. The opportunities have to outweigh the many obstacles. Transformation starts with the offender.  It starts with the offender taking personal responsibility for their actions and deciding to change.  It’s hard to take that initiative when one is not loved and/or supported.  Families need to get involved along with society.

Click here to continue reading more…

Transformation through Application, Beautiful Be-Loved You! 2 Cor. 3:18

Thank you for being you, Beautiful Beloved!

To the many beautiful girlfriends who have ever crossed my path, whether endearing or painful, you have taught me so much that I am eternally grateful for!  This week’s blog is written through a grateful heart as I live out my faith in practicing what I preach because, one, I am celebrating the life God designed me to live out which requires the blessings of solitude incorporated with lots of girlfriend time in nurturing the new friendships and visiting the old ones; and also, if you didn’t catch this week’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays Blameless refreshedabout being still before the Lord and loving on ourselves, I encourage you to read the short blessing that this week’s post encourages because it’s all about taking care of US.  Click here.

Since I am in the process of trying to be still myself from the usual crazy schedule filled with all the demands and the many responsibilities, I’m going to embrace and cherish every moment of these brief reminders to remove the dross, the impurities that life and distance from the Lord starts to develop (Proverbs 25:4). 

I am making life-altering decisions right now and I don’t want the influencers of stress or lack of time in prayer and meditation to effect the decisions I am about to make.  This requires nothing short of devoted prayer and meditation, and that means being still before the Lord (Psalm 46:10) that is accomplished only through prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6)!  I don’t know about you, but the “meditation” part I struggle with BIG TIME!!!

Blameless Prayer and MeditationI was blessed to celebrate today with huge praises to the Lord in saving my girlfriend, “K,” you know that girlfriend that I scared the morphine out of, from having to undergo further treatment with her cancer battle.  She has allowed me to refer to her by her initial so you might relate to her on a different level. 

She shared her victory through many sorrows, many of which I can relate to. The one thing she made very clear was that many of her girlfriends she thought would be there were not; that she received such rejection, it felt as if she had the plague or something. And that others who she was too afraid to reach out to because of her own insecurities developed from the guilt and condemnation that came from others proved one thing:  We need each other. And when Blameless Jesus Reachingwe’re forced to be stripped down to offering nothing but our mere existence during our incredibly difficult and dark periods of pain is when God reaches down and offers His beautiful hand of love and strength through the support and care of others that will walk through the rest of our lives together.  

This bond will be incredibly difficult to sever and nurturing it is easy; this is true love and can be accomplished by others who see you through the eyes of Jesus! These friendships rejoice when others are being blessed and their prayers go unanswered. They love when it’s contrary to popular opinion. And these friendships hold up to the test of time by holding each other accountable for the sole purpose of love and encouragement.  We can receive and give back this love because we have experienced firsthand what it’s like to be loved and touched by the grace of God. 

I must admit, I am being stretched especially hard this upcoming month with making major decisions that are hard. My go-to is prayer and meditation, ballet, yoga, and walking in those brief moments of solitude with the Lord, along with intense prayer rituals with my beautiful girlfriends who care about my walk and who gaze at the nature of God with innocence and purity received through unveiled minds that complete surrender has developed. I can embrace these decisions with full confidence knowing I don’t have to control them and can claim victory through peace and gratitude like 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us:

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Let’s embrace this next week with all the love and support that the Lord so graciously blesses us with, while we concentrate on ourselves and our lives being immersed in the Word. Let’s give Him have all the ugliness that surrounds our hearts so we have plenty of room to bless others with love!  It’s really not that hard when we know and love Jesus Christ!

Blameless Judge

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!