As a former Director of a Community Corrections Center, I have always been concerned about the state of ecidivism and looking for strategies to reduce the revolving door syndrome of American prisons.  According to the Pew Report:  April 13, 2011 — More than four in ten offenders’ nationwide (40%) return to state prison within three years of their release despite a massive increase in state spending on prisons.

States today spend more than $50 billion a year on corrections, yet recidivism rates remain stubbornly high. As  the slumping economy forces states to do more with less, policy makers are looking for a better public safety return on their corrections dollars.

One program proven to be successful is the SPICE (Self Paced In Class Education) Program in several state  correctional institutions in South Carolina.  While the recidivism rate remains high around the nation, at least 40 percent, the rate of recidivism has been reduced considerably, only 5 percent of repeat offenders, in this successful program.  One component of this program is Holistic Hardware, which provides biblical tools for building lives.  In other words, these tools build excellent character skills to impact the change in a person’s heart which effects the change in a person’s behavior.  Changing bad habits into good habits allows an inmate to become a productive citizen in society.  Therefore, making the transition back to society less painful and more fruitful, reducing the revolving door syndrome of recidivism.  Several inmates have shared their personal testimonies to this fact; stating that the Holistic Hardware course changed their lives considerably, like Sam, who was incarcerated over 20 years, is now adjusted back in society, living in a new home, has a steady job, bought a car and is paying taxes as a productive citizen of South Carolina.  This is one example of many.

Blue Ridge Ministries has been involved in the SPICE Program for several years conducting the Holistic Hardware course to many inmates coming through the system.  Jim Williams and I (Isaiah Golden), believe in the principle of Jesus Christ at Acts 20:35; “More blessings come from giving than from receiving” (CEV) Our ministry is a non-profit organization that operates on donations, gifts and contributions.  I ask that you pray for us to continue to extend these services in the prison ministry to assist these inmates to turn their lives over to Christ and become excellent citizens of South Carolina.  If your heart moves you to support the efforts of this ministry by giving a freewill offering, we pray that God bless you for having the spirit of Acts 20:35.  May we  all do our part in this soul saving commission that God has given us…………..AMEN.

Written by:  Isaiah Golden, Facilitator of Blue Ridge Ministries

January 18, 2012

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