For the formerly and currently incarcerated, moving forward in life can feel utterly hopeless.
And the roadblocks to restoration and a positive future are nearly impossible to overcome without an advocate. The City Mission believes that everyone, regardless of their past, deserves a chance to find peace and begin anew through the grace of Christ. Learn how Inmate Outreach Services offers unique assistance to former and current offenders as they seek restoration.
Former and current inmates have often burned relational bridges with the mistakes of their past, so obtaining even the simplest essentials can be a challenge. We provide practical items such as envelopes, reading glasses, stamps, and more to those serving prison terms, because these items allow those incarcerated to have a regular connection with someone who cares about them - a connection that might truly be their biggest need.
Approximately 1/3 of the population participating in both our men and women's programs have been in jail or prison at some point in their lives. Through Laura's Home and Crossroads, we offer a reentry path to former inmates who desire to begin their new life in a safe, faith-based environment. At The City Mission former inmates are surrounded by positive influences. We share food, clothing, and shelter with ex-offenders who come to our programs, so that they don't have to choose to return to their previously negative lifestyle in order to survive. In fact, at any one time,
The Heart component of our Inmate Outreach Services program is treating inmates as Jesus would - through physical visits and the offering of lasting hope. We mail monthly literature to more than 2,700 inmates, participate in personal correspondence, hold chapel meetings and visit with inmates at local men and women's centers, and connect inmates to Bible studies through Life’s Key Ministries. Emotional support and guidance is also offered to families of inmates, as they work through the sensitive and logistical details of supporting an incarcerated loved one.
The City Mission also equips former inmates with all they need to develop life and work skills, build a network of friends who will provide positive influence and support, and learn to interact appropriately and restore relationships with family. This stabilizing support makes the adjustment to their new freedom easier, especially in a world that may have changed drastically during their incarceration.
Finding a place to call Home might be the most difficult part of the restoration journey for a former offender. Previously incarcerated individuals face housing and employment barriers that can be impossible to scale alone. Certain community resources may be cut off to them, and other parts of society will simply reject them because of their past. This type of isolation and permanent branding is not only damaging to an individual, but to a community as a whole. A person who is blocked from obtaining work, or ostracized from social settings is highly likely to offend again.
At The City Mission, our goal is to unite former and current offenders to the people and systems who will give them the chance they need to successfully reenter society. This means connecting them with supportive (but not enabling) family, friends, and the local Church; working with judicial and penal system staff to have records expunged or a sentence lessened for deserving individuals; and supplying resources and recommendations for those who desire to further their skills and education. Together, these relationships and opportunities allow a person to lose the chains that come with the label of "ex-offender," and focus on living a life of freedom and contribution.