White Collar Support Group
Meets Online on Zoom Monday Evenings. 254th Meeting Monday, Apr. 26, 2021, 7 pm ET, 6 pm CT, 5 pm MT, 4 pm PT, 2 pm HST
White Collar Week Podcast: An Evening with Our White Collar Support Group. The support group meeting on this podcast is different than most, because all of the 16 group members appearing have agreed to share their names, faces and very personal stories in an effort to reach out to individuals and families suffering in silence. All on the podcast are post-sentencing or back from prison. Watch on YouTube, Listen on SoundCloud or Podbean, Link here.
Dear Fellow Travelers,
Progressive Prison Ministries and St. Joseph’s Mission Church invite you to join our Confidential Online White Collar/Economy Exiled Support Group. We hold our group meetings on Monday evenings, 7 pm ET, 6 pm CT, 5 pm MT, 4 pm PT, 2 pm HST, 11 pm GMT, (12 am CET, 1 am SAST, 10 am AEDT Tues.).
We are doing something truly groundbreaking! This is the world’s first Confidential Online White Collar/Economy Exiled Support Group. As this support group is run by ordained clergy as part of a program of pastoral care and confession, we expect and believe it falls under clergy privilege laws.
This is a huge step in forming a community of individuals, families and groups with white-collar criminal justice issues and who are otherwise economy exiled who have a desire to take responsibility for their actions and the wreckage they caused, make amends, and to change their lives and move forward in new way of life centered on hope, care, compassion, tolerance and empathy. Our experience shows us that many of us are suffering in silence with shame, remorse, and deep regret. Many of us have been stigmatized by our own families, friends and communities, and the business community. Our goal is to learn and evolve into a new spiritual way of life and then to reach out to offer all those suffering from these issues. In so doing, we will share our experiences, feelings and resources to help make the quality of each other’s lives more manageable. This is an important thing we are doing!
We held a powerful meeting last week! Thus far, over 300 Fellow Travelers have participated online from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Canada, South America and Jamaica, W.I. All have agreed this has been a valuable, important experience in which everyone feels less alone, and gratified in the opportunity to talk about things in a safe space only we could understand.
We have formed agreements as to confidentiality, anonymity and civility, and have a basic agenda for each meeting:
2. Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
3. Short Member Introductions (if there is a new member)
4. Announcements & Resource Sharing
5. Guest Speaker and/or Lead on Topic
6. Member Sharing
Login Instructions and Link are sent out weekly. We have set up an account with Zoom for our group, and you can log in via video on a computer, tablet or smart phone that is equipped with a camera, or audio only via phone. Please use headphones if you can so that we can minimize feedback and background noise. Each meeting will have a different meeting number to best provide confidentiality.
For Newcomers, I (or the night’s leader) will be online fifteen minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting. Zoom works wonderfully, however, it might take a little time to get comfortable with on your end if you’ve never been on this platform.
If you have suggestions for other fellow travelers to join this group, please call or email me to discuss. Our goal is to be inclusive.
IMPORTANT!: If you are currently on supervised release, probation or parole, it is important that you first discuss this with your P.O. To assist in this regard, information about our ministry is available on prisonist.org.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to join in our next meeting, or with any questions you might have regarding this group, its meetings, or anything else whatsoever.
Rev. Jeff Grant, J.D., M.Div. (he, him, his)
Co-founder, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., Greenwich CT & Nationwide
Co-host, The Criminal Justice Insider Podcast
Host, White Collar Week
Mailing: P.O. Box 1, Woodbury, CT 06798
Donations (501c3): http://bit.ly/donate35T9kMZ
Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/jeff-grant-woodbury-ct/731344
Link to Contact Info & Appointments.
Link to our listing on Meetup here.
“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, Illinois – Richard Lee, Illinois (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, still ongoing after 3 years, is 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 L., Colorado (sentenced to Federal probation with no prison time, despite $5 million+ fraud loss computed in PSR)
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 (awaiting report to 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)