Earlier this week, Insider took you behind the walls on Rikers Island to December's Prison Fellowship Academy™y graduation.
Rikers Island is the main jail complex for New York City. On average the daily population is 10,000, making Rikers one of the world's largest correctional institutions.
Her exclusive highlighted the testimonies of the program participants, who explained why their time at Rikers has changed their life for the better.
Academy participant Michael York said his life was a cycle of crime and incarceration. He knew he couldn't continue living such a life and cried out to God for help.
Michael was arrested and sent to Rikers Island.
While most would be discouraged by such an event, Michael now sees it as God’s answer to his prayer. During his time at Rikers, he found the direction and help he needed from Prison Fellowship.
"I want to come back to the program in a positive setting," Michael says, "Come back to be a mentor. To help others [who have] been through the same thing I’ve been through."
Programs like Prison Fellowship Academy have support from corrections officers as well. These programs not only help the incarcerated prepare for reentry, but they also reduce violence within the facilities.
News 12's exclusive can be viewed online at their website.