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Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.
The first ministry in the United States created to provide confidential support and counseling to individuals, families
and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues
Significant Outcomes: Since Jan. 2015
We Have Served Over 90 Individuals and
35 Families in 25 States
Since Jan. 2015, we have served individuals and families in twenty-four states, including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. We typically communicate with these families before, during and upon reentry from prison in person or by phone, email, Skype, FaceTime or GoToMeeting, or via CorrLinks if in a Federal prison. Please click herefor our full information package.
A SPIRITUAL SOLUTION
In the 10+ years we’ve been working with white-collar individuals, families and organization before, during & upon reentry from prison, this is our simple belief and conclusion: Those who adopt a spiritual solution evolve and cope more successfully than those who do not!
We offer spiritual solutions for material problems, and strive to engender and evoke understanding and compassion in all people for all people.
WHAT WE DO
Shepherding people and families with care and compassion all the way through the incarceration and reentry process to a new and transformed life is our mission. We engage in direct pastoral care in person and by telephone/ Skype/ FaceTime/ GoToMeeting/ mail/ email (many Federal prisons now have email).
Confidentiality. As clergy, our communications and counseling are strictly confidential. For this reason, we are often the first people that families call when they are ready to end their isolation and reach out for help. This is also a major reason that many attorneys, parole and probation officers, etc. allow their clients to maintain relationships with us.
Overview. Unlike most attorneys, prison coaches and prison consultants, we take a long-term approach to the individual and family’s health, happiness and well-being – our calling is to see individuals and families all the way through the process to authentic, dignified and productive lives.
Pastoral Care/Spiritual Counseling. Utilizing our professional backgrounds and real world experience in religion, law, business, reentry, addiction & mental health recovery, family work, social ethics, and advocacy, we are the only organization and ministry in the country created and committed to guiding individuals, families and organizations from negative to positive, internal and external messages:
We Suffer From: Shame. Regret. Fear. Remorse. Failure. Hopelessness. Helplessness. Denial. Feeling Stuck. Depression. Feeling Life is Over. Uselessness. Feeling Like a Doormat. Unworthiness. Projection. Isolation. Substance Abuse. Mental Illness. Compulsions. Feeling Like an Outcast. Labeling Ourselves as a Criminal and a Felon. Anger. Trying to Control Outcomes. Attachment. Feeling Vulnerable. Loneliness. Sadness. False Pride. Mourning. Sloth. Envy. Jealousy. Avarice. Victimhood. Disbelief. Having Unreasonable Expectations.
Instead, We Would Like to Be:In Acceptance. Surrendering to Reality. Accomplished. Resilient. Resourceful. Faithful. Hopeful. Recognizing Our Talents. Lovable. Accepted. Surrendering to Reality. Lovable. Respected. Forgiven. Trusting. Trustworthy. Accountable. Passionate. Repurposed. A Good Friend, Husband, Wife, Father, Son, Daughter, Citizen, Voter, and/or Taxpayer, Empathetic. Compassionate. Kind. Understanding. Feeling Self-worth and Self-esteem. Debt Free. In Service to Others. Proud, In the Process. Healthy. Free.
We Suffer From:Stigma. Ostracism. Shunning. Public Fear. Blaming. Marginalization. Litigation. Separation. Estrangement. Divorce. Schadenfreude. Underemployment. Unemployment. NIMBY. Being Cast Out. Banishment. Others Hurt. Disappointment of Others. Victimhood. Resentment. Retribution. Revenge. Others Demanding Justice. Restitution. Others Anger. Damnation.
Instead, We Would Like to Be:Forgiven. Accepted. Happy. Relieved. Empathized With. Understood. Tolerated. Shown Compassion. Given Care. Given Support. Shown Service. Reconciled. Given Amnesty. Pardoned. Given Opportunities. Living in Community. Offered Compromise. Allowed to Work. Allowed to Vote. Allowed to Make Mistakes.
Family Counseling. We have dedicated staff and volunteers specifically dedicated to the needs of innocent spouses, families and children.
Women’s Incarceration Issues. The fastest growing sector of white-collar incarceration issues, we have an advocate who specializes in women’s needs before, during and after prison.
Prison Readiness. We partner with and oversee the most ethical, compassionate and effective prison coaches and consultants in the country, so that together we can provide all the practical steps for survival and success in prison, and throughout the journey.
Sanctuary & Refuge. We are a safe and secure place of sanctuary, privacy and refuge where individuals and families can discuss matters of shame, ostracism, grief, remorse, etc. with complete confidentiality, and can learn, grow and evolve into the spiritual beings God intends for them to be.
Substance Abuse, Other Addictions & Compulsions, Mental Health. Not only do we collectively possess decades of experience in recovery and reentry, but we partner with the very best drug and alcohol counselors, interventionists, MSW’s, therapists, psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, etc.
Pardons, Clemency, Commutation of Sentence. We believe that individuals and families should start focusing on reentry, life after prison and a pardon from the first moment of the process. Certainly not everyone will obtain a pardon, but life will continue to evolve and grow more successfully by engaging in a Culture of Pardons. We work with state and Federal pardons/clemency experts to ensure the best results down the road.
Expert Testimony. We can provide expert testimony services to criminal defense teams to assist them in presenting a truthful and balanced package to the court. Utilizing our unique and unparalleled bios, we can also document the individual’s and family’s fresh start in writing, and in testimony before the court.
Dispute Resolution & Mediation. Individuals and families who are experiencing issues in the criminal justice system often have many other pressing matters including financial problems and disputes, family disruption, etc. Using our unique experience and backgrounds, we can assist in resolving these matters.
Pastoral Care/ Spiritual Counseling. For those in prison, we engage in direct pastoral care in person and by telephone, CorrLinks, and mail. We meet with spouses and family members to assist them through these difficult, critical times.
Clergy Visitation. Many prisons afford clergy special visitation privileges such as one-on-one private sessions in private attorney/clergy meeting rooms, access on non-visitation days, etc.
Newsletters, Blogs & Articles. We also send in to prison copies of our newsletters, blogs & guest blogs, and helpful articles
Family Counseling. We know first-hand how difficult it is for families to be away from their loved one – and for the incarcerated to be away from family. We provide consistent and continual assistance throughout the darkest days of incarceration.
Funds Assistance/ College Scholarships. American Baptist Churches USA has awarded us a grant to provide one-time stipends to individuals or families with white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issues to be used for short-term expenses and for college scholarships. We continue to seek out other compassionate benefactors.
Reentry Preparation. Working with some of the best known reentry nonprofits in the country, we start the reentry and reintegration process long before release.
Pastoral Care/ Spiritual Counseling. It comes as a shock to most people that their return home is actually the most difficult part of the process. Poorly managed and unsafe halfway houses, home confinement, embarrassing ankle monitors, parole and probation officers who may or may not be kind, dramatic career and financial changes, families in upheaval, loss of old friends and family, etc. This is the time most need to rely on us and our growing community of similarly situated fellow travelers.
Support Groups. We have founded the country’s first confidential online white-collar/ nonviolent support group [As this support group is being run by clergy as part of a program of pastoral counseling, we consider it to be confidential and privileged]. We hold our weekly group meetings on Tuesdays, 8 pm Eastern, 7 pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5 pm Pacific. Link for information.
Advocacy/Community Building. We are at the forefront of building and advocating for an integrative, supportive community of individuals, families and organizations with white-collar issues who were living in isolation and suffering in silence. We offer opportunities to all to help and lead in this noble endeavor.
Wrap-Around Reentry Services. We have access to and work with some of the best reentry nonprofits in the country, who can provide behavioral services for emotional issues, drug and alcohol counseling, domestic violence, soft-skills training, housing, etc. And many accept Medicaid for approved services.
Pardons, Clemency, Commutation of Sentence. This is the time to really focus on the specific steps it takes to obtain a pardon, clemency or commutation of sentence. Each state has its own rules and procedures, as does the Federal government. We work with state and Federal pardons/clemency experts to ensure the best results.
Career Counseling and Placement. Certainly, this is one of the topics that most concerns individuals and families from the outset and throughout their journey. We have assisted many in the daunting process of letting go of the old life, getting into radical acceptance of the new reality, thinking through the endless possibilities, overcoming both internal and external obstacles, and implementing a new career plan. Many employers, who might otherwise not give a felon a second chance, will entertain referrals from clergy. We are working with world renowned executive and outplacement specialists to develop an integrative white-collar career rehabilitation program. Coming soon!
Volunteerism. We have found that service to others is not only the most effective method to grow, evolve and transform, but also gets us out of our own prisons of self. We advise all to obtain meaningful volunteer positions as soon as possible, and help place individuals with charities and nonprofits throughout the country.
Boards. It is our honor to have served on a number of criminal justice/prisoner reentry-related Boards including Family ReEntry, Bridgeport & New Haven, CT; Community Partners in Action (formerly the Connecticut Prison Association), Hartford, CT; and Healing Communities Network, New York, NY. Jeff has also served on the Editorial Board of the book, The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, Southport, CT, and on the Advisory Board of the Phoenix Association, Guilford, CT, and Creative Projects Group, Los Angeles, CA (Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”). Jeff was the recipient of the Elizabeth Bush Award for Volunteerism ’12, and the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative Advocate of the Year Award ’13, ’14 & ’15 and Professional of the Year ’16. JustLeadershipUSA recognized Jeff as one of fifteen “National Leaders in Criminal Justice.” Jeff has been invited to attend the prestigious Collegeville Institute spiritual writing workshop at Louisville Seminary, fall ’16.
Speaking Engagements. We have had the privilege of speaking at some of the most important and influential venues in the United States, including The Nantucket Project, Nantucket, MA; Greenwich Leadership Forum, Greenwich, CT, the Corrections Ministries and Chaplains Association (CMCA) Correctional Ministry Summit, , Wheaton College, IL; Salons at Stowe, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT; Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York; Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT; and many prisons, reentry programs, houses of worship and other venues.
Sermons. Preaching frequently at churches and houses of worship provides an opportunity to share our work and spread the message of compassion, forgiveness and redemption.
Media. Articles featuring our ministry have appeared in Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, Absolute Return/ HedgeFund Intelligence, Business Insider, New York Magazine, Fairfield County Business Journal, Reentry Central, Weston Magazine Group, Weston Forum, Greenwich Sentinel, Greenwich Time, The Hour and others.
Additional Advocacy/Press. We further advocate for criminal justice reform by providing quotes, sound-bites and non-confidential information to the press.
Blog. Authoring, curating and editing the important and widely read blog and site, prisonist.org, we focus on national and international criminal justice advocacy/ministry themes. Exclusive articles and guest blogs are posted by some of the world’s foremost experts in their fields.
We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy. Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal here, at the “Donate” button on on our site, prisonist.org or by sending your check payable to: “Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.” P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883.
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status – all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Thank you for your support and generosity.
If you, a friend or a family member are experiencing a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox.
The darkest days of a person’s life can be a time of renewal and hope
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
PO Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
Rev. Fr. Joseph Ciccone, Ed D, M Div
Jacqueline Polverari, MBA, MSW, Advocate
Women’s Incarceration Issues
George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
Jim Gabal, Development
Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact