I am called to lead them through the gates of Second Prison by building relationships with those incarcerated before they are released, mentor them, work with them to formulate their reentry plan and then encourage them once they come home. Reentry often means rebuilding families as well.
I work with several other ministries that all contribute to successful reentry. Many of the issues faced by those incarcerated revolve around broken homes and missing fathers. Part of this ministry is to help restore fathers to their families, provide fatherhood coaching and to mentor kids living in broken homes to provide positive role models to help break the cycle of broken homes and crime from generation to generation.
We also work with prisoners and returning citizens to give them voice through Urban Verve Publishing with fiction based on real life stories about Christian redemption, witness testimonies and Christian teachings. We have much to learn through the experiences of those who have been swept up into the prison systems. From their personal stories we learn ways to break the cycle of crime, drugs and broken homes.
During the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple courts and proclaim to the people all the words of this life.”
Acts 5:19-20 ESV
Second Prison is what returning citizens enter when they walk out of the prison gates. They are metaphorically fenced in by over 48,000 laws and regulations that block them from jobs, housing, voting and some social services. Public perception and discrimination often prevent acceptance as neighbors in the community.
Second Prison was a pubic relations effort started several years ago by Prison Fellowship Ministries but was changed in 2017 to Second Chance Month. While Second Prison describes the situation that returning citizens face, Second Chance Month focuses more on public awareness during the month of April every year.