While you might already know some parts of our family’s story (detailed in an article that appeared in the March 2018 issue of Greenwich Magazine, (https://prisonist.org/the-redemption-of-jeff-grant-by-timothy-dumas-greenwich-magazine-march-2018/), I don’t believe I’ve yet conveyed just how many other families we’ve met and helped that are going through the exact same traumas that we experienced, and the great need they have for our continued and better assistance.
Nationally, there are over 10,000 white collar prosecutions each year, all of them leaving behind a trail of ruin and despair. For these families these are “life sentences,” with unforgiving former friends and families who have turned their backs, houses of worship and organizations that have asked them to leave, and children who have been shunned and stigmatized by their classmates. They suffer in silence behind drawn blinds, waiting for foreclosures on their homes. The business world disdains them, or is frightened to associate with them, so they are unemployed or severely underemployed – even Uber won’t allow them to drive their passengers. Divorces are rampant, with children experiencing extreme disruption and frightening changes.
This is happening right now, in our communities.
When my family went through these issues, there was nobody to turn to – so we went through it in isolation. Frightened. Alone. After I came back from prison, Lynn and I were determined that families should no longer have to suffer these kind of human indignities. That we could conquer shame, guilt, despair and denial with love, compassion and kindness – and unequivocal acceptance of responsibility and radical acceptance of reality. We had a vision to form a ministry that would shepherd these families all the way through their issues to new, joyful, purposeful, faithful lives on the other side of their problems. We used our experience, backgrounds and skillsets to provide both spiritual and practical support.
To date, we have served over 300 hundred individuals and families, with more reaching out to us every day.
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is the first ministry, and organization of any type, created to support individuals, families and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent criminal justice issues to live new lives founded on ethical principles, productivity and community. Founded in 2012, we incorporated in 2014 and were granted 501(c)(3) status in 2015.
We have met with each and every individual and family in need, either in person, by phone, video chat or on our weekly online video support group that meets on Monday evenings. We have learned it is the isolation that kills us, and that the solution is in community. We have had over 100 participants on our support group calls and will celebrate our 134th meeting next Monday night!
Our next big initiative is the establishment of a formalized Ethical Retraining and Rehabilitation Program, which will help participants learn new ways of right thinking, right intention, right action and right living. Imagine if we could train a new generation of leaders to walk a more narrow path before they got into trouble, to avoid the kinds of self-sabotage and personal destruction we experienced?
Upon request, I can send or email you a copy of our Information Package that will give you a better idea of what we believe, who we are, what we’ve achieved, and where we are headed. I hope after your review, we can meet or have a call to discuss how we might be of service to your congregation.
In this holiday season, we appreciate your donations that will help us to help those who are suffering in silence. You may make your donation online at PayPal.me/ppminc, or send your check payable to “Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.,” to P.O. Box 1, Woodbury, CT 06798.
Lynn, I and all in our ministry thank you for your support and generosity, and wish you and your loved ones a most happy & healthy holiday season.
“It was a privilege and a joy to make arrangements to have Jeff Grant come and visit as our special guest preacher and speaker as the capstone to our church’s Opioids and Addiction month of learning and reflection . His journey and his experience speak as powerfully as his words and his presence. It was fantastic that he could come to the church and make the case for his Family ReEntry vocation and volunteerism (inner city), as well as his Progressive Prison Ministries nonprofit (white-collar). Both his ministries are crucial, even as they serve dramatically different groups of people living in dramatically different contexts. In the era of #MeToo, I’m still remembering his words: ‘we have to teach men how to behave better’. His sermon also gave hope to so many in our congregation who are struggling with mental health or addiction issues, whether personally, in their families or among their friends and colleagues. His life makes the case for criminal justice reform. Personally, it was also a joy to have an excuse to get together with my Union Theological Seminary Classmate in person! I remain grateful for Jeff’s journey, commitment, and ministry.” – Rev. John Shellito, Associate Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, Virginia