Hope still bears the scars of her birth parents' war with addiction. Heroin and alcoholism left her childhood marked with abandonment, isolation, and worthlessness. Even after she was adopted, Hope struggled with thoughts of suicide.
In this week's Insider, Prison Fellowship® field director Denise Harris shares how prisoners in the state of Michigan celebrated Christmas this year.
At the annual Prison Fellowship Christmas concerts at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan and the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility, men and women at both facilities were treated to a live performance from recording artist Rufus Harris.
“How can I plan to be successful in re-entering if I don’t even know when I’m going to get out?”
In his early 20s, aspiring journalist Aaron Suganuma was overcome by drug addiction. When his funds ran low, he resorted to stealing to support his habit.
With his wiry gray beard, rugged appearance, and familiar name, William “Billy” Kidd looks like someone who has stories to tell.
And he does. The former drug dealer who was once a leader of the Aryan Nation within the Michigan correctional system has spent much of his life in and out of prison, with the many tattoos covering his body chronicling his nefarious past.
A man lies awake in his prison cell at night. With no light, no company, and no chance for a restful night’s sleep, he reaches for what he does have—crochet hooks and some yarn.
By morning, he has crafted a blanket.
There are few scenes quite as serene and peaceful as an expanse of green grass, shaded by a stately oak tree. The bucolic imagery has the ability to calm and comfort, transporting people from their everyday struggles, if only for a few fleeting moments.
For Prison Fellowship Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Craig DeRoche, justice reform is more than a job, it’s a passion developed from personal experience.
At the age of 34, DeRoche was elected Speaker of the House in the Michigan State Legislature—the youngest person to ever hold that position.
“What happens after the 50th landlord tells you that you can’t rent an apartment because of your record, or the 50th employer explains that their company doesn’t hire ‘felons’?”
Christopher Poulos, executive director of Life of Purpose Treatment at the University of North Texas, asks this in a piece for The Bangor Daily News.
For moms and dads behind bars, Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of the year. Separated from their sons and daughters, these parents struggle to connect with their children—to let them know that they care for them and remember them, even when distance and iron bars keep them apart for the holidays.