Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut 

The Night Before Prison: A Letter
by Lee Gutierrez

Lee Gutierrez was referred to us only one week before this letter was written and posted – he reports tomorrow to serve his eight-year prison sentence.  His is a story of how, on the path of one’s spiritual transformation, it is never too late to seek help.  He wanted us to publish his letter in order to help others. 

September 5, 2013

Mr. Jeff Grant

Director, Progressive Prison Project                       

15 East Putnam Ave

Greenwich, CT, 06830           

Dear Jeff,

I would like to thank you from the deepest part of my soul for helping me with the next steps of my life’s journey. As you know I will be going to prison for a significant amount of time and have been struggling with my thoughts of how to “survive”. I am someone who made a single mistake in my life; I have not had a criminal record since I reached my mid age of 49.

I am an alcoholic and have been struggling with my addiction for over 2 decades. This sickness had consumed me to the point where I was in denial; this denial caused me to have a horrific accident. The result is that I will be incarcerated for a significant part of my 50’s.

This past year has been a struggle for my mind and spirit; I was terrified of the unknown. What would it be like to be in a long term incarceration? I had been talking to people through Recovery that were kind enough to provide a small view of the “life inside” but never enough for me to understand what I would expect. Then through my outpatient counselor I was introduced to Rev. Jeff Grant and the Prison Progressive Project.

Although he is an minister he did not approach me as a religious figure. Having been someone who struggled in prison he understood the challenges and “society inside”. He has come out of it a better person physically, mentally and spiritually. He now dedicates his life to help people like me who have made mistakes and need help and support.

We spent an intense amount of time in such a short period to make sure my fears of the unknown were diminished and all my questions answered. I feel more at peace knowing what steps are going to happen, how to keep in control of what I can and how to assimilate into the “inmate culture”.

I urge you if you are like me; someone who is going into the penal system for the first time and would like to be as prepared as possible. Let Jeff and the Progressive Prison Project organization help you…it is going to save my life.


German L. Gutierrez 

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Greenwich, Connecticut

Assoc. Minister/
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

(203) 339-5887