Saturday, April 24, 2010

God is Faithful - Joy

In jail and prison ministry, I often hear horror stories about how hard (and sometimes impossible) it is to survive on the outside after being incarcerated. We punish offenders and they pay the price of their mistakes by going to prison. But when they come out, our society continues to punish them by making it difficult to start over and become productive citizens.

I asked our guest blogger, Joy, to share the experiences of an ex-offender returning to the community. During her recent incarceration, Joy lost her job, her apartment and her car. She asked the judge for work release.

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I was granted work release on April 14th and started back to work on April 20th. I'd like to share the struggles it took me to get that far.

I had to come up with money for the privilege of being on the bracelet (GPS) before I could start my job. I earn $10/hr. Keep in mind, the following does not include my own rent and bills I have to pay.

Here is the breakdown of what I owe to get back to work.
  • $672 ($336 every two weeks) for the GPS.
  • $40 a month supervision fee for being on probation.
  • $300 for 6 months of car insurance (required because I lost my license for 9 months for my first drunk driving ticket).
  • $839 - cost of the ticket.
  • $205 for a DMV required drug and alcohol assessment.
  • $50 to reinstate the occupational license
I understand there are consequences for my actions and driving under the influence is against the law. I am not complaining about that but I am trying to be a productive person in society and I feel like the system sets ex-offenders up for failure. I have no idea how they expect me to live. I am fortunate to have a job, but I still need to find an apartment and come up with the security deposit plus a month's rent. I see why so many ex-offenders go back to old behaviors. It's so overwhelming. I will be on the bracelet until February 2011. Paying $672 a month for the GPS doesn't give me much left for the basics such as rent, gas, and food.

But I know that God is my provider and as long as I stay in his will and serve him, he will meet my needs. I won't give up.
Thanks for your prayers.

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The Women Of Block 12: Voices From A Jail Ministry:

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1 comment:

  1. Linda, what an awesome ministry you have here! God always sees fit to do things differently...what a blessing you are to these women. I'll pray that you continue to spread positive, God filled messages of hope for these women. Be blessed! -Hillary