“Jeff has a pragmatic, objective understanding of criminal justice issues, and more importantly, he is suffused with a spiritual understanding of the holistic emotional and values-driven issues that affect decision-making & healing through this journey. Jeff wears many hats – he is a spiritual counselor, a life coach, a critical thinker, and most important of all, is a friend. Thank you Jeff for your counsel throughout; my family and I are beyond grateful to you and Lynn. Please feel free to share this to offer hope and comfort to others in need.” – Richard Lee, Chicago (insider trading charges dismissed, Nov. 2019)
“Jeff is my quarterback and coach – he has been a life saver for me! I unfortunately found myself in “no man’s land” with a young, career oriented prosecutor, a notoriously tough Federal judge, and jaded, but well connected, criminal defense attorneys My case was in a highly complex and technical area of unsettled law where no one seems to actually know (or worse, care) what the law actually is or means. Jeff has been invaluable to me with striking the right balance of pushing my attorneys to do their job, understanding my case, and standing up for me – but not pushing too far and blowing up these delicate negotiations. Jeff has also helped me cope with the broken “justice” system where extreme unfairness, brutality, and incompetence is a daily occurrence. Furthermore, my legal problems have resulted in very complex tax issues. Jeff went above and beyond by finding a possible solution that my expensive tax attorneys missed, but later agreed Jeff’s suggestion was a valid one. My biggest regret is not working with Jeff sooner than I did – I may have not pled guilty if I was working with him from the start. Bottom line – if you have any reservations regarding your attorneys and want an honest assessment from an extremely smart former attorney who really cares about you and isn’t in it just for the money, Jeff Grant has to be the best person in the country for you. I can’t recommend him enough!” – Matt Lockwood, Denver (sentenced to Federal probation with no prison time, despite $5 million+ fraud loss computed in PSR, probation terminated early)
“God bless Jeff and the fellowship he has created. I found him just in the nick of time, several weeks before sentencing. I had never spoken to anyone who had been through circumstances like these, and very soon I had an embarrassment of riches with respect to support. I no longer felt alone, I had many new friends to talk to, and was even able to provide support and comfort in turn to those who were not as far along in the process as I. As Jeff said, none of the questions I had were unique or theoretical – someone he knows has been through it. As with pretty much every aspect of modern life, separation is the chief problem, and helping and asking for help are the solutions. I have been able to get through the days with dignity, love and even a little joy. A great deal of that is due to Jeff’s work.” – Timothy Litzenburg, Virginia (currently serving in a Federal prison)
I was the Sheriff of Bergen County, New Jersey, an elected position that I held from January of 1999 until my resignation on Jan. 11, 2001. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I wanted to share this part of my life…Time and numbers are such a powerful thing. Think about this, 250 meetings, 5 years of coming together in community. A shared story, most often a painful one, for most of us. Tremendous regret, sorry, and unimaginable loss. For many of us that story is transformed into one of new beginnings, second chances, and the opportunity to make a difference in the world. That is what the Rev. Jeff Grant has giving to us, his fellow travelers in this Prison Ministry and White Collar Support Group. I love the fact that I get to wear a “white” roman Collar now, after my journey. However, I love even more these fellow travelers who continue to show their support, their kindness, and the need to make a difference in the world. If we have learned anything from this terrible pandemic, it is the challenges of isolation, of lose, and and despair. This group come together sharing what those feelings are like for a lifetime after making a mistake in the hope of criminal justice reform. Of the need to have personal and community growth, but most of all in the chance to shed a stigma of deep regret, shame and suffering and how to become a beacon of hope, compassion and tolerance! – Fr. Joseph Ciccone, New Jersey (sentenced to probation 15+ years ago))
“For years, Jeff has made it his mission to make sure that no one feels the isolation that can come from being a former inmate. He has brought people together from across the country to talk, listen, and be a new community. He has given hope to people to know that they are not alone, not isolated, and not without hope. The White Collar Support Group, week after week, provides a forum for fellow former inmates to build a new network of people that have walked the same journey from prison to the next chapter in life. For me, Jeff and the Progressive Prison Ministry is a place to meet Fellow Travelers on this road. We are so blessed to have this place to meet, talk, and know that we are not alone.” – Bill Baroni, New Jersey (conviction overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, May 2020)
“I was the elected District Attorney of Philadelphia, I had spent the majority of my professional career working to prevent crime, and hold those accountable that harmed society. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be the target of a criminal investigation, indicted by a federal grand jury or serve time in prison. All of those things eventually happened and I wasn’t ready. I wish I had known then, of Rev. Jeff Grant, his Progressive Prison Ministry and White Collar Support Group. Jeff and his group are now a significant part of my life and I am eternally grateful.
I felt alone, and thought there was no one that could relate to what I was going through. You have been the big brother, I never had and you have created a network of welcoming, non-judgmental, and understanding men and women that share their similar experiences in an open and nurturing environment. You are absolutely correct, “It’s the isolation that destroys us. The solution is community.” and we have you to thank for creating one for us…
After my release from prison, I spent 6 months on home confinement and am now on supervised release. While there may be no one way to prepare for any of these things. I am fortunate that once I returned home I found Rev. Jeff Grant through social media, and he has greatly assisted my reentry. Jeff listens. I look forward to our weekly White Collar Support Group meetings. I now have a network of friends that I can share my concerns with that have experienced the very same things that I am going through. I listen to people that I have lived it. I hear the good, the bad and the miraculous. These new friends are not just faces on a zoom screen. Frequently, we connect via phone or email to follow up and support each other.” – Seth Williams, Philadephia (released from Federal prison due to Covid-19)
My neighbor and friend Wayne read the news in the local Greenwich newspaper. His message was kind and supportive, and he hoped that he was “not crossing any lines,” but he has a friend who might be able to help me. He forwarded me some information on Jeff Grant. I remember standing in my living room with my now ex-wife when I read what Wayne had sent me.
Jeff spoke as if he was living inside of my body at that exact moment. He spoke of shame and isolation; he spoke of uncertainty and fear. His words took the air from my lungs. I sat down, put my head in my hands, and wept. I wept because the words were so raw and personal, and I wept because they were exactly how I was feeling – but I didn’t know how to express it myself. – Craig Stanland, New York (released from Federal prison 4+ years ago)
Whether struggling with the most difficult crucible many of us will ever face before going inside, or coming home and facing the intense personal and financial difficulties of re-entry, Jeff has been a staunch ally and informational godsend for hundreds if not thousands of men and women over the past decade. He has created a caring, open fellowship to help serve others going through the same trials and tribulations that many like myself had to face alone and afraid many years ago when Jeff’s mission hadn’t yet come into existence. Congratulations on 250 and here’s to another decade of hope, love, optimism and support! – Michael Kimelman, New York (home 7+ years from Federal prison)
I spoke to Jeff for about an hour, swapping stories from each of our personal crucibles and realized how many similarities we had. When Jeff mentioned there is an entire group of people like us who meet weekly, I suddenly felt a sense of relief. After sharing my story in 2016 with the group, I decided to explore the professional speaking and corporate training route as a potential second career. A cold email to 400 NYC financial firms went mostly ignored except for one reply who invited me to speak to their firm. Referrals from that first presentation completely changed my life and a second career was born as a professional speaker and corporate trainer. Now in 2021, I’ve presented nearly 400 times to companies, conferences, universities and associations. – Tom Hardin, New Jersey (sentenced to probation)
“Three months or so into dealing with a federal indictment for conspiracy (and wire fraud) in my wife’s Ponzi scheme, I was confused at what I was facing, and scared at the thought of what this would do to my family, especially my youngest children then aged 9 and 11 who were soon to lose both their parents to prison. I remember the first time I spoke to Jeff, I had just dropped off my two at school and was sitting in my car in the Walmart parking lot where I wouldn’t be disturbed. Jeff answered my call and I nervously introduced myself. I realized fairly quickly that this would be someone who could help me find some of the answers I was seeking. We talked for at least 90 minutes that morning, and never once did he rush me off or make me feel I was an inconvenience or my issues were not important. Jeff has helped me in so many ways since that first call. Whether it was discussing how best to talk to my children about our situation, setting up a support system for them both in school and in private counseling, or talking thru the various aspects of dealing with the justice system and what to expect before, during and after. In fact, it was Jeff who suggested that my wife and I should request staggered sentences which the judge’s approved. Since then we’ve talked about life in prison and starting over afterwards, maintaining a marriage while incarcerated, and forgiveness, just to name a few. I value Jeff’s advice because he always gives you a straight answer, you may not always like what he has to say but you can always count on it being true to his experience. And I have found that in the end this is most valuable. Like many people, I fear the unknown, and Jeff helped take away my fear by giving me knowledge. I was, and am, able to make better informed decisions because of it. I am also greatly relieved to know that Jeff and his ministry will be there for me when I am released from prison.” – Bill Livolsi, Oklahoma (released from Federal Prison to home confinement due to coronavirus)
“I knew Jeff Grant from my days in seminary over a decade ago, long before my personal tragedy unfolded. I knew of this ‘White Collar Support Group’ Jeff had founded, but never looked into that much further, even after I started my recovery program. But in my desire to better myself, and a nudge from a few friends, I decided to check it out. I had no idea what was on the other side of this door I just walked through.
That first meeting I attended several years ago gave me a jolt. Yes, there were others in the White Collar Ministry Support Group who had addictions, but to listen to others who committed non-violent, white-collar crimes instantly gave me a sense of comfort and belonging. Every week, new stories and experiences opened my eyes wider to both my own journey as well as the struggles so many other face in silence.” – Fr. Rix Thorsell, Chicago
As a practicing attorney in a one-man firm, I took money from my client trust account to help meet business expenses and to keep my own household afloat. Of course, I knew this was wrong and that eventually it would catch up with me. A few months ago it did, so now I am facing a prison sentence of two or three years.
During the months following my indictment I was fortunate enough to find the website created by Jeff Grant as a ministry to non-violent white collar criminals. Jeff is a former attorney, a convicted felon, an ex-convict, and an ordained minister. At a time when it seemed my life lay in ruins I was welcomed into a caring White Collar Support Group of individuals who are facing or, perhaps more importantly, have already faced, terms of imprisonment for crimes like my own. The majority are former convicts who have a true mission to help each other grow back into this world outside, to share the wisdom earned through their experiences and to acknowledge positive aspects of these years.
The group has weekly meetings, on line with real-time video conferencing. Over the past several months I have felt the power of belonging with a very special new set of friends. So much of my experience has isolated me from the community I used to know. Jeff’s group has provided a fellowship of people with whom I related immediately. This resource is also providing me with practical advice as I prepare to enter the prison system. The group inspires me every time we meet. Though I’m not a member of any faith in particular, I know a blessing when I see one. My profound thanks to Jeff and to those who gather here with him. – Anonymous, Maine (released from state prison to home confinement due to coronavirus)
“Jeff is a true inspiration to anyone coming home from prison to face the many trials and tribulations that life throws at you. I made a very bad choice in 2009 which led me to a federal indictment and 7 months in Danbury Federal Prison Camp for women and then three months in a halfway house. I had gut wrenching guilt and remorse, and immersed myself in every program available in Danbury. I was seeking self-awareness of who I was and why I veered off my path of good decision making. It was not until I came home and met Jeff Grant that I truly started my journey to redemption and forgiveness. His amazing attitude, coupled with immense experience, brought such clarity to my very foggy existence. Jeff founded a White Collar Support Group and invited me to join in. Finding that group was such a turning point for me as I was lost. The group helped me with my immense feelings of guilt and how to overcome adversities that I never knew would exist for me. I am grateful to Jeff and all the men and women in that group and feel so fortunate to know I am not alone in my journey. Due to Jeff, I am able to give back to the women I now work with within the criminal justice system by utilizing my strengths, experience and educational background. “ – Jacqueline Polverari, Connecticut (home 5+ years after serving in Federal prison)
“Upon returning home from long-term incarceration I felt motivated to do the things necessary in order to bring some semblance of order back into my life. But as equipped as I was, there were certain things that I couldn’t have anticipated or prepared for. My emotional and mental health suffered from my inability to find someone – anyone – who understood. I felt afraid and impotent. But in my search for answers I came upon Jeff Grant. After reading his story, I reached out to him and found a kind and compassionate ear. He took the time to hear me out, listen to my fears, concerns, and hopes, and invited me to network with him and others in a way that helped me be conscious of the fact that my struggles are shared by others. He helped me appreciate that I could contribute to others lives in a way that helped them, and that being of service would help me as well. I credit Jeff not merely with being a helping hand, but with being a clearing house of resources and knowledge that I couldn’t have hoped for. He is attentive, humorous, giving of himself, and quick to work to develop meaningful solutions to problems that can have a lasting impact on the lives of the people around him. I’m grateful to Jeff for his friendship, advice, and leadership; I encourage anyone dealing with any life transition – especially, but not only, where the criminal justice and correctional systems are at play – to reach out to Jeff to ask for help.” – Joshua C. Cagney, Virginia (home after 10+ years after serving in state prison)
“Shortly after my release in September 2015, I was guided to Jeff’s door by complete chance and little did I know that I had just hit the proverbial “reentry” lottery that would help shape and change my life. I asked for his guidance about how I could possibly return to society as a once respected trial lawyer who was now branded a convicted felon. After words of support, Jeff suggested that I join the White Collar Support Group which met each week via the Internet. Not sure that I could even log in, as I was still living in a halfway house. I managed to find a library or satellite to check in, and can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This support group has given me an opportunity to share my thoughts, concerns and emotional trauma with a compassionate and understanding group of people who all traveled a similar journey and who all have now become good friends. There is no question that those who have experienced the criminal justice system all face common problems, barriers and trauma as we begin our reintegration into society. I am proud to say that I am associated with this fine group of people and hope and pray that some day we can share the lessons and benefits of the peer support and mentoring that has helped me to find my passion and purpose in life. Thank you!” – Jeffrey Abramowitz, Philadelphia (home 5+ years after serving in Federal prison)
In my initial conversation with Jeff I recounted the events leading to my conviction and described the details surrounding my present circumstances. Jeff was an astute and thoughtful listener who left space for me to get through the story in my own time. His personal experience informed our conversation with compassion, empathy and understanding. It was, perhaps, the first time I had been able to recount the events without being asked to explain my thinking or justify my actions. I breathed a little more freely knowing that the person I was speaking to had first hand knowledge of what I had been through.
Jeff suggested that I participate in the Monday night White Collar Support Group where I could engage with others who had become similarly embroiled in the criminal justice system and who were at various stages of processing their experiences. The weekly meeting is populated by a diverse group whose reliable wisdom, respite and thoughtful help, informs each session. Through their listening and the open sharing of their experiences an alchemy of healing is evinced. – Jeff Krantz, New York (sentenced to probation without prison)
“Exactly one year later here I am thanks to the men and women, a melting pot of amazing humans, in the group who helped me defuse the shame of ‘I’m a very smart person, how could I have been so stupid!!!’ … Believe me, we all make at least one big bad decision in our lives, we just have different methods. The support group for me is much like a high end mastermind, with hot seats, getting a diverse set of perspectives, allowing you to observe your situation through new eyes and experiences.” – Debbie Colbourn, Calgary, Canada
“I was introduced to Jeff by a mutual friend and fellow traveler that thought it would be good for us to connect. Our friend was right, it was good and is good that we connected. As someone who has spent time in prison for white collar crimes, albeit NYS Prison (not to be mistaken with “club fed”) and who is steeped in the understandings and teachings of 12-step recovery programs, what Jeff has done with the Ministry is fantastic. There are so many scary things about the odyssey one takes from arrest/indictment, to plea, to sentencing, to remand. Jeff, and the Ministry, provide an essential and critical forum to demystify the process and have a warm safe secure group of people who are all experiencing what you are going through. The people and resources that Jeff makes available are priceless to families and individuals facing incarceration. As someone who is studying to become a criminologist and has devoted his life to criminal justice advocacy and advisory services, I feel incredibly grateful on both a personal and professional level to be a part of Jeff’s life and the White Collar Support Group.” – Craig Rothfeld, Co-Founder, Inside Outside Prison Consulting, New York (home 3+ years from state prison)
“Jeff is a gift to anyone facing time in prison, as well as to anyone coming home from prison and trying to readjust to their new reality. I made a terrible choice at a critical time in my life and as a result was sentenced to 27 months in prison at FPC Alderson in West Virginia; I report next week. Unfortunately, I did not meet Jeff until a few hours after my sentencing, and I joined the White Collar Support Group the next Monday night. I wish I had had him with me throughout my entire journey. It’s such a relief to know I have someone in my corner to guide me through critical decisions and can just simply relate to every emotion and thought that pops into my head and all hours of the day (and night). He is realistic in his advice, sympathetic when he needs to be, and has brought me clarity and helped me put one foot in front of the other when I didn’t think I could muster up the strength to even get out of bed. I am so grateful to Jeff and all of the men and women in the group to know that I am not alone and have a confidant and friend I can talk to. In fact, one a of the women in the group is flying in to be with me when I self-surrender to prison. I hope to someday be able to give back to people in my position the way Jeff and this group has given to me.” – Ashley Cole Furst, Colorado (released from Federal Prison to home confinement due to coronavirus)
“Jeff has created and nurtured a beautiful community of support, hope and light. Community members have first hand knowledge of what it takes to withstand fear-provoking federal investigations, face complex charges, and navigate a labyrinthine criminal justice system. The community is warm and welcoming, honest and supportive, transparent and non-judgemental. Our time together provides important opportunities to share stories, express feelings, offer encouragement and express solidarity in silence. Our community is diverse in many ways and offers a place for everyone. Yet we are united in our hope, humility and commitment to continuous personal reflection and growth. Our members have faced and survived extremely challenging circumstances and have emerged stronger, wiser and more grateful for their lived experiences. I am grateful to have been introduced to Jeff and been welcomed into this community. My participation experiences have given me opportunities to listen, share, offer, learn, hope, be thankful and find peace. No two human beings live exactly the same life and no two people in our community are exactly the same. Yet we share a deeply-held and unwavering belief in the limitless capacity of the human spirit to overcome hardship and transform painful experiences into opportunities to help others. I am a better person for having been part of this group. It is the shared experience of destructive interactions with the judicial system that brought us together, our honest conversations about the human experience that keep us together, and Fr. Jeff’s leadership that allows us to be a light in the world for others.” – Anonymous, Pennsylvania
“I received an invitation from Jeff Grant of Progressive Prison Ministries in August 2016 to attend a White Collar Support Group meeting. I was reluctant and hesitant about accepting the invitation because I had my reservation about what this group was going to tell me about serving time in a Federal Prison and the challenges and difficulties post incarceration. Being a convicted felon, I have endured a multitude of challenges post incarceration. To be frank, incarceration was the easy part and the biggest challenge was how I was going to reintegrate myself into society once I got home and how I was seen as “enriched uranium” by others. I left federal prison psychologically and emotionally broken, I was a wreck! I was released from federal prison in the summer of 2008 and it took me seven years to deal with the psychological carnage and to obtain inner peace. Looking back at this journey I wish that there would have been a White Collar Support Group when I got out of prison and my pain curve would not have been so steep. Getting on Jeff’s call was a breath of fresh air as I was able to meet other men and women who had endured the shame and embarrassment of being a convicted felon. Jeff brings a spiritual component to his group which in my opinion is critical as it helps with the healing process. I applaud Jeff for creating this organization as it helps convicted felons who have been ostracized by society in providing ministerial counseling, empathy, compassion and support. I have met some incredible people in this group and I look forward to being an active participant for many years.” – Douglas Mairena, Virginia (home 10+ years after serving in Federal prison)
“Jeff’s solid spiritual core has been forged in the fire of his life experiences – from his early high flying legal career to subsequent incarceration, followed by rebirth and redemption and the tirelessly passionate assembly of his ministry with his loving wife Lynn. Jeff has been extraordinarily generous with his time, talents and wisdom. He is a most perceptive and discerning listener, and incisive sounding board always grounded in solution-oriented spiritual and practical counsel. He has been of invaluable assistance in helping me navigate my own personal journey in recovery and reconstruction. Whereas I was once homeless, in the throes of addiction, facing daunting legal circumstances and estranged from my children, I am now in a stable home, self-supporting, repairing the family relationships that once seemed beyond salvation and an active contributing member in service to my community. This would not have been possible without Jeff’s ministry and guidance for which I am immensely and forever grateful.” – Michael K., Connecticut
Jeff has been an invaluable resource for me as I continue to reintegrate into society after serving 42 months in Federal prison. Unlike many others, I joined the group well after my sentence ended. I can only imagine how much smoother and peaceful my own situation would have been if we met earlier. I was in a place emotionally where I felt every decision I made was altered because of my past experiences. Shortly after being diagnosed with PTSD from my 42 month stint, I met Jeff on LinkedIn. The group has been my weekly outlet where we are amongst our own, and nothing is off limits to discuss. I learned my issues and obstacles were common amongst others that have been through the same “system” as me. I also learned there is hope and sunshine at the end of a dark tunnel. Thank you Jeff for facilitating a very meaningful group bringing us together in the name of personal growth. – Leon B., Atlanta GA (home 10+ years after serving in Federal prison)
“Jeff has been a “friend of our family” for many years. When a catastrophic situation for me was very highly publicized, Jeff reached out to me through a family member and offered his support. Jeff has been a confidential ear, a source of support, a source of professional advice, and a spiritual support to me. The Monday night online support meeting, which you have an option to be anonymously included in, offers a very loving, upbeat, supportive group. Both Jeff and his wife Lynn have offered help for our family, including my husband, which makes for very comfortable and loving approach for help. I feel very blessed for the opportunity to have a person with his integrity and leadership, and his experience, strength and hope, to be part of my team, and my life.” – Anonymous, Connecticut (awaiting sentencing to Federal prison)
When I first joined the White Collar Support Group, I was nervous and not committed. I heard there were other women on the call but they were not on the first couple of calls I was on. I felt anxious as the only person of color on the calls as well as the only woman. Over time, I developed more trust and became more vulnerable to the group. I have never felt pressured to share or be anyone different on these calls. I now look forward to our weekly time because it is the one time a week when I feel whole regardless of whether I am having an “up” day or a “down” day. There is nothing like a shared experience with people who have walked your walk and know exactly what you are talking about. When new people come to the calls, I am eager to put a metaphorical arm around their shoulders and remind them of what they already know but have temporarily forgotten: “You will survive. You will have some up days. You will have some down days but we are all here for you. And…. Yes, you will survive. Life will never be the same again but you will survive. You will discover that you are really an amazing person in the process. You will survive.”
So many people come to the call in a complete state of panic. Their situation is not what they bargained for. They are losing everything they once knew. They want to know how to make it all go away. They want to know how they can regain everything they are afraid of losing. The calls become a place where your entire humanity, not just your mistakes, are affirmed and upheld as valuable. The calls are the one place of refuge where we are reminded that we are NOT, in any way shape or form, our crimes. The calls are one place where our whole humanity is affirmed. We do not give legal advice but we give soul support that helps build resilience. And in the long run, it is a game of resilience.
The best part of these calls over the last couple of years has been taking relationships off-line. I have met several of the men and women that have been on the calls. They are more than friends. They are Anam Cara, the Celtic word for “Soul Friend.” I love our transparency. I love how we are all striving to be our best selves. I love the support and love I receive. I love the celebrations of our successes no matter how small and I love the encouragement I receive when I am down. Most of all, I have turned this into an accountability group. I still wrestle with why I made the poor decisions I made and committed a financial crime. I do not want to be that person. I want to be a person that makes smart decisions. I want to be a person that is fully aware of the ethical impact of my decisions on other people and also on institutions. On the calls, I continue to get help in the areas that I feel the weakest. I know that because of these calls and the support and non-judgment that I receive, that I am able to grow beyond the limitations that my crime has placed on my life. – Anonymous, Atlanta (home 5+ years after serving in a state prison)
It is hard to believe I have only known for only seven months now. Jeff and the support group have provided me a lot of hope and support in a short time. When I first reached out to Jeff I was in a dark place. Even though I pleaded guilty to wire fraud over 13 years ago I was still ashamed of everything. I was ashamed not only of what I had done, but what I put my family through. I was ashamed that I made so many bad decisions.
Until I met Jeff, I was trying to run away or hide from my past. I didn’t want to think about it too much. I try to just keep moving forward. However, it felt like I was carrying a 50 lb weight on my back. My shame prevented me from enjoying and savoring all the good things that happened in my life. The shame prevented me from being hopeful about the future.
After a conversation with Jeff, I started attending the support group meetings. At first, the support group meetings felt strange. However, I have come to rely on the meetings for strength and support. There is no judgment at the meetings and everyone there is trying to support each other. Most important of all, I now realize that I do not need live my life in shame. There is a quote from Brene Brown which reflects what I have received from Jeff and my fellow travelers of the support group: “If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” – S.P., California (home 10+ years after serving in Federal prison)
Shortly after my release in September 2019, I learned of Jeff Grant and his amazing work through the Rich Roll podcast. His story resonated with me and I decided to reach out. To my amazement, he immediately responded and we ended up having a great conversation about life, spirituality and the journey of redemption. It was refreshing to be able to speak with someone who understood my plight. I was looking for guidance on how to return to society and get my life back in order. I never realized how tough reentry would be but also knew the process was not going to be an easy journey. He invited me to join his support group, which I found very insightful and helpful. I am beyond grateful to have Jeff as a friend as you are a true inspiration. – William P., Virginia (home 1+ year after serving in Federal prison)
“I am writing to express how thankful I am to have found you and your organization. As you are aware from your personal experience the process of being arrested and charged with a crime instantly changes your life. For me what followed over the last 14 months is not something anyone can prepare for or understand how to navigate. The lack of control and waiting to learn my fate is what disturbs me most. Negative thoughts run through my head on a daily basis. My weekly visits to my therapist does not replace speaking to someone who has been through the process.
When we first spoke I was feeling lost and in a constant state of fear. Finding others that actually understood what I was going through was nearly impossible. Since joining the weekly calls I’m still fearful but no longer feeling alone. You have provided a safe place for people like myself to share their experiences and ask important questions that are of concern. Since participants are generally in various stages of the process (pre or post conviction and incarceration) there seems to be plenty of opportunity for me to gain perspective relating to my situation. This has been a god send.
From day one you made me comfortable in sharing my story and showed care and compassion for what I was dealing with. Right now I am at a critical point in my case where decisions need to be made regarding taking a plea or going to trial. Having the right attorney is critical in deciding which way to go. Fortunately one of the first things you asked when we spoke was who was representing me and you took the time to walk me through the process of learning what I should expect regarding background, and their areas of expertise. This was critical since from the very beginning of my case I felt something was not right with how I was being handled and charged for services. Without your guidance and asking the right questions I would not have been able to pinpoint what my gut was telling me all along. I am now ready to make the change with confidence that it is the right step in getting to the best possible outcome. What is also important is you didn’t force your opinion on me. You shared your knowledge and experience and allowed me to come to the conclusion on my own. So in spite of all of my pain and suffering, knowing that I have people like yourself and your organization to lift me up when I am down is a blessing.” – Keith O., New York (serving time in a Federal prison)
“Where there is hope, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen. In the midst of severe adversity and trauma, a support group that focuses on healing, raising mental health awareness and providing hope for a new chance at life is the miracle that entered into my life. It is clearly evident that Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is committed to changing and inspiring lives of those who have fallen and are committed to becoming stronger through their failures. I could not be the strong person I am without the intellectual and strong-minded friends who have reinstilled hope and a sense of value in me. They have become like family to me during the most tragic event in my life. Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is a coalition of forward-thinking individuals and leaders who are committed to lifelong wellness, belonging, and making a true impact in this world. Through this support network, increasing our sense of safety, security and belonging and serving without judgement is made possible. We learn to trust how we feel by sharing our stories. This organization is an essential social support so one does not feel isolated in the worst possible stigmatized situation. Every day we have the choice to support our body and mind’s healing response or undermines it. Being a part of Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is one of the most important steps I have taken to begin my own healing process while helping others and giving back through the power of human connection. It’s essential to be present “here and now” as I enter into a new life. My failures have allowed me to open up my eyes and see what is most important in life. I couldn’t do it without the genuine compassion and care through the inspirational, spiritual and powerful meetings that bring the power of people together at Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.” – Anonymous, St. Louis (released from Federal Prison to home confinement due to coronavirus)
I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Jeff Grant some months ago. I currently have a situation where I am facing a prison sentence. The terms are still being negotiated as to what type of sentence may occur. However, to navigate through this system can be quite overwhelming and complex. Someone (usually your lawyer) explains the system in a way that you may or may not understand. I have discovered that most people charged with white collar crimes have no idea of the complexity of the criminal justice system. It is so far removed from our daily lives and most of us don’t even know of anyone who may have been accused of this type of criminal activity. Now all of a sudden, we are thrust into a complex legal system of which we have not only no say but no understanding of how it works. What we think of as a logical sequence of events is not how the judicial system works. So, to better understand this complex system, Rev Jeff Grant has worked with me to help me look out for my family and myself as to the possible consequences of each and every move or decision that is made. He helped me understand the ramifications of my decisions as my lawyer presented them to me. I came to understand the long term positive or negative effects of some of the negotiations being made on my behalf by my lawyer.
Needless to say, to attempt to navigate through this interwoven complex system without any guidance or insight, or only though just the lens of your legal counsel, may not be in your best interest. Therefore, Rev Jeff Grant can give you sound advice and from an independent and experienced point of view, keep you grounded, and keep you on the best possible path given the circumstances. His resource pool is phenomenal, as he has assisted people from all walks of life from all over the country. You have nothing to lose by speaking with him and having the opportunity for him and his team to share their insight and wisdom with you. – J.S., New York (awaiting sentencing to Federal prison)
I heard Jeff Grant on the Rich Roll podcast about a month ago and knew I had to contact him, if nothing else, just to thank him for opening up and helping me realize that there are many others going through difficult situations…many, much worse than mine. I emailed Jeff a day or two after the podcast thanking him, and he responded immediately to let me know I could contact him at any time to discuss my situation. That was an invitation I couldn’t pass up. A day or two later I sent him a long email telling him what i had done, the guilt and shame I felt (on the podcast, Jeff clarifies the difference between guilt and shame, something I hadn’t contemplated before), that I was beating myself up daily for the mistakes I had made.
Once again, Jeff responded immediately with five points: 1. He thanked me for trusting him, 2. He told me he did a lot of the same stuff, 3. He told me there is always a way through, 4. He asked me to join his Monday night support group, telling me it’s the isolation that destroys us, and lastly, 5. he asked me how old my kids were. I immediately felt hope, and took him up on his offer to join the support group.
Approximately 13 years ago I signed someone else’s name to several loan documents as a co-signor, someone very close to me. I knew it was wrong. At the time, I thought I was just signing their name, not wanting to think it was as a co-signor…at least that’s the lie I was telling myself. I have not missed a payment since signing the docs, but that doesn’t take away from my transgression. That was 13 years ago, and not one day has gone by where I haven’t thought about what I did, asking myself how I could have done that. On top of these loans, I piled up more and more debt, to the point of being overwhelmed, I couldn’t see a way out. I was waking up at 1, 2 or 3 times every night, and my mind would immediately go to what I had done. I kept wondering how I could have done this, that I needed to call the lenders and confess what I had done, that I could go to jail, or I could be homeless, what would I do with my belongings, how do I tell my kids and family, what would I do with my cat, and the list goes on. I was literally beating myself up to the point of living with anxiety and being depressed, seeing no way out. I would spend days at work with my head in my hands, looking at co-workers, and telling myself that they would never do something as foolish as what I did…my mind was my prison. The situation kept getting worse as I made some money in an investment and reinvested it in another company, that has since tanked. I have no idea how it will turn out, but once again, I wondered how I could have been so foolish. I now owed the IRS money, and I have to set up a payment plan with them, just one more entity that I owe money to.
Jeff’s email helped me almost immediately, telling me that he did some of the same things I did, there is always a way through, and it’s the isolation that destroys us…those words helped me more than he knows. I still had to dial into that first support group, which was for me a huge step, one I tried to avoid, but knew it was a critical step to help me get through this, and realize that I’m not alone. I kept seeing Jeff’s words: it’s the isolation that destroys us…he was spot on. I’ve sat through three meetings to date and they’ve helped me immensely. Everyone on the call is so supportive. Everyone is at a different timeline in their journey. Some have gone to prison and are now out doing great things. Some are in the early stages of their journey, scared and wondering what the road ahead holds for them. Some talk about how they will be heading to prison shortly, and speak to their fears of the unknown. For these people, and really for all of us, Jeff and those who have spent time in prison, are a great source of encouragement and support. I now realize I’m not alone. I realize we all make mistakes, but we’re still good people, and good things can come from our mistakes. Several in the group speak to the fact that their time in jail has actually given them more focus, and given them direction with life post-incarceration. They all want to serve and help others in some capacity. I realize, like Jeff said, there is always a way through.
Jeff called me the day after my first support group meeting and helped talk me through my situation. He made me realize I have a “business issue”, and gave me guidance on how to handle it. He laid out a course of action and suggested I seek counsel from an attorney in my area, which I did immediately (I had been avoiding this for several years). I’ve followed his similar advice and I know I’m going to be okay. It looks like I will avoid jail time, and I now have a plan on how to “get through” this…as Jeff has pointed out, there is always a way. That being said, the little devil on my shoulder, at times, still want’s to hold me hostage to what I did, so the support group is critical to my healing process.
I’ve attended three meetings, and they’ve become a regular part of my Monday evenings. One last thing that has helped me immensely is saying the Serenity Prayer daily, I cannot change what I did, and I’m much better off accepting my mistakes than beating myself up over them. I cannot change what I did. Thank you Jeff and the Progressive Prison Ministries Team, your support is critical to my healing process. – Anonymous, Ohio (has avoided prosecution through decisive remedial action)
In December 2017 I was interviewed by the FBI about a loan. A few months later I was indicted for fraud. I pleaded Not Guilty but lost the case at trial. As of September 2019, I am awaiting sentencing. For nearly two years I have been angry, confused, and frustrated. My present and future are murky. During my journey I have received advice from attorneys, clergy, close friends, business friends, and compensated “prison experts”.
I found Rev. Jeff Grant online and I was attracted to his faith perspective, although I have found his help to be very practical as well. The word that I believe best describes Jeff is “wise”. Wisdom is the skillful application of knowledge, and I believe experience is the best way to gain knowledge. This is what makes Jeff wise – he skillfully shares his knowledge, and this has helped me makes sense out of this journey. Jeff’s wisdom comes from experience that most others simply don’t have – this is a unique journey and your guide needs to understand the voyage. Wisdom is easier to receive from a compassionate person, and this is where Jeff’s spiritual center has great value.
Jeff hosts a White Collar Support Group call every Monday with between ten and twenty participants each week. These calls help me understand my current status and help me plan for the road ahead. I feel safe being transparent with Jeff and others in the group going through things only we could understand. I know the road ahead will be difficult, but Jeff has helped me to put things into a healthy perspective, and I know that I will be alright. Jeff is trustworthy, wise, and compassionate – I’m glad he is with me on this journey. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs a wise and trustworthy guide. – Tim H., Florida (currently serving in a Federal prison)
“Jeff and the support group have been instrumental in assisting me as I am going through the pretrial process. Knowing that you are not alone has been incredibly valuable to me during this journey. Moreover, Jeff has shown compassion and grace to me, which has at times been missing during these dark days. His calming demeanor and steady guidance is a true blessing. Most importantly, he is a testament that there is an end in sight and things will eventually get better.” – Jason, Connecticut (awaiting sentencing to Federal prison)
I first found out about Rev. Jeff Grant and Progressive Prison Ministries about two years ago in 2018 through a stray email that found its way into my inbox. I was most interested in their weekly online White Collar Support Group. I intended to check it out but, as happens more and more frequently, I got distracted, busy and forgot about it. Then, a few months ago–in April 2020 I got another email from Rev. Grant and PPM announcing that they were going to have their 200th White Collar Support Group Meeting (4-year anniversary). I couldn’t make that hallmark meeting but have attended and participated on 10 out of 12 meetings over the past three months. What a rare and powerful forum this is! I’m 55 years old and have been in recovery from addictive-compulsive stealing for 35+ years (since 1990). I shoplifting or stole from the workplace about a thousand times between ages 15 – 25. I lived a secret life and was arrested twice for shoplifting and fired from two jobs for employee theft before hitting my bottom in the middle of law school.
I came clean with my family, got into therapy and began making lemonade from the lemons of pain and shame that was my life. In 1992, I founded C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) – a free, open, weekly support group in metro-Detroit. I did get licensed as an attorney, then got my MSW, and have worked as an addictions therapist the last 23 years. I’ve written four addiction recovery books and have been a point-person in the media. Rev. Grant’s path and my path have many similarities. So, I connected with his story and his support group easily and deeply. The White Collar Support Group helps me personally, helps me assist my clients, and I’ve referred several clients to attend the group as well. Progressive Prison Ministries is a beacon of light in a darkened world. — Terrence Daryl Shulman, Metro-Detroit
“One of the beautiful things about this country is it gives people a second chance. There is no one who has done more good in service of others than Jeff Grant and what he’s built, given a second chance. Congrats on all the lives you’ve helped and to all those whose shared mission in your white collar support groups has helped put lives back together on the occasion of your 250th group meeting milestone. Godspeed.” – Jim Campbell, author, “Madoff Talks: Uncovering the Untold Story Behind the Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme in History;” and host of: “Business Talk with Jim Campbell” and “Forensic Talk with Jim Campbell.”
“Jeff has transformed the way I think about myself and others. Before my time working at Progressive Prison Ministries, I spent many years defining myself and others by their decisions, failing to consider what factors led them to the choice itself. Engaging with Jeff’s practice and the larger justice-impacted community has changed my life forever. I’ve never met kinder, more thoughtful, inspirational people. It’s been a blessing to be surrounded by authentic people who are dedicated to growing from their mistakes. This community has inspired me to be kinder to myself, untether myself from my past instead of overanalyze it, and most importantly, realize I am never alone.” – Chloe Coppola, World’s Greatest Advocate & Assistant
“Working with Jeff and Chloe on White Collar Week has been an absolute blessing. First, just knowing they exist – that people are devoting time and energy to healing on the other side of corruption or falling off-course – is awe-inspiring. This is the kind of cultural healing that is going to bring all of us to a better place.Jeff and Chloe both brought a practical understanding to the larger issue, a heart for the deeper forces at play, and utmost respect to the process. As podcast host/co-guest, they were skillful, articulate, clear, and reassuring. The conversation was in very capable hands, and I felt we reached an important level of connection as a result.
When I wrote in Can’t Stop the Sunrise about Humanizing as the ultimate path to transforming corruption, I had no idea I would be so fortunate as to meet others walking that road. Not only are they walking the path, they are reaching the people who truly need the message of hope in redemption – the most encouraging kind of trailblazing! Jeff knows that regarding each other as whole humans is how we grow personally and collectively. Now, I have met people who are further along the path still, and giving me hope as we all walk it together… Thank you Jeff Grant and Chloe Coppola!” – Vanessa Osage, Washington State, President of The Amends Project and author of Can’t Stop the Sunrise: Adventures in Healing, Confronting Corruption & the Journey to Institutional Reform
There is one school of thought that says “people never change,” but I don’t believe that. Witnessing the core evolutions in Jeff Grant from close quarters over the span of many years, I can say with assurance that Jeff is living proof of the contrary. The strength, courage and steadfastness in Jeff’s recovery and his transition into a new life is truly inspirational. I am proud to claim Jeff as a friend and colleague, and to watch his ministry and other service work take shape and expand, as he dedicates himself to the embodiment of his faith. – William Nix, Esq., Los Angeles, CA
“Jeff is an incredible advocate for criminal justice reform and is very passionate about helping others. I have watched him grow over the years as he helped build a community around him. His radio show has brought a lot of awareness about the injustice surrounding mass incarceration in this country. I was honored to be a guest on his show and discuss my transformation after serving 10 years in prison. Jeff is a shining example of how we all evolve and learn from our mistakes.” – Aaron Kinzel, Professor, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michigan
Rev. Father Jeff Grant, JD, M.Div., is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary; and lead clergy at Progressive Prison Ministry. Fr. Grant is an active Priest in good standing with the Progressive Catholic Church and the assistant Pastor of Saint Joseph Mission Church of New Jersey since 2016 to the present time. As Bishop and Pastor of Saint Joseph Church I fully and happily endorse and recommend Fr. Grant in serving the members and families of those that have been impacted by the Criminal Justice System and those in crisis and returning to society. – Rev. Joseph Ciccone, Lead Pastor, Saint Joseph Mission Church, Cliffside Park, New Jersey
“I came to know Jeff well when we attended the same recovery groups in Westport, CT. What impresses me most about Jeff is his candor, commitment to his sobriety, acceptance of the consequences of his behavior before he became sober, and service to others. We also attended together monthly meetings of the Westport-Weston Clergy Association. We still communicate frequently; I consider him a trusted friend and colleague.” – Rev. Pete Powell, Christ & Holy Trinity Church, Westport, Connecticut
“I’ve had the privilege to interview and get to know Jeff Grant. His story is nothing short of inspirational. Turning around a life that had spiraled out of control ending with a prison term and now re-dedicated himself to a life of service. He’s built national platforms for re-entry into productive society ranging from white collar crime to those from economically deprived areas. He is a literal bridge to the future. A second chance paragon in a time when we need a second chance society.” – Jim Campbell, Host, “Business Talk with Jim Campbell” – Nationally Syndicated on the Biz Talk Radio Network, Author – Madoff Speaks, Greenwich, CT
“What an honor it was to interview Rev. Jeff Grant on my cable talk show last year. He shared his journey from successful New York attorney, to prison minister. His story is very moving, as he is earnestly helping individuals and families move from incarceration to meaningful re-entry into civilian life. He shares his knowledge, and demonstrates his faith through his work in the Progressive Prison Ministries. “The fall from Grace is not only spiritual, it is literal”, according to Rev. Jeff Grant. His words are exemplified through his advocacy for criminal justice reform. Jeff Grant exudes sincerity. His heart is genuine. His knowledge is authentic. To know and work with Jeff Grant is a blessing.” – Toni Quest, Podcast and TV Show Host, New York
“Jeff is a fantastic human being with a powerful passion for people. I value his insight, structure and hard work ethic, and will be forever changed from knowing him.” – Meredith Atwood, Podcast Host, Triathlete, Speaker, Author: The Year of No Nonsense, Massachusetts