If you’re like us, 2018 is speeding by – how is it already fourth quarter?
We haven’t checked in with you in some time, and wanted to send a quick update about what’s been going on behind the scenes, and what’s coming up.
♦ We recently surpassed our goal of 600 adopted inmates by the end of this year – at this rate we may hit 700 before 2019. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the new adopters.
♦ For those who are still waiting, we appreciate your patience – you should be hearing more very soon. Feel free to check in by email to find out where you are on the list.
♦ Huge shout out to Amanda C, Cynthia H, and Tina L, for the countless hours you’ve put in helping clear out the new adopter requests. I wish I could pay you what you’re worth – you rock!
♦ The next issue of our quarterly-ish newsletter is in the works – watch your inbox!
♦ We have some new contributors to our blog and lots of news to share in the coming weeks. Do subscribe so you don’t miss out on any new posts. Be sure to see today’s sweet letter from one of our adoptees, dedicated to his adopter, Mrs. C.
♦ Saving the best news for last – the founder of AI, my brother Rick, should be released early next year. He is the heart and soul of AI, and his constant support and guidance has been invaluable.
For most of my life I believed what the media and television wanted me to believe. Everyone convicted by the courts is a criminal and should be thrown in prison. The keys should be tossed into a lake somewhere and they should spend the rest of their miserable lives behind bars and barbed wire – so that the rest of us will be protected from them.
I believed them to be sub-human, not worthy of … anything, to be honest. When I would hear about them watching cable TV I was outraged. I mean, who do they think they are? Cable TV? Health care? A decent meal? Bread and water, I say! Don’t spend my hard-earned tax dollars on trying to help some … some convict. They’re nothing but a bunch of animals – sausages, all of them. There’s no reason why they couldn’t have stayed out of prison. My life hasn’t been a bed of roses. Let them suffer, I say.
Then I found myself standing before a jduge, court-appointed attorney by my side. I’ll be okay. I’ve seen the TV shows. I’ve been a firefighter for 26 years. I’m one of the good guys.
My heart leaps to my throat. Eight years. The sound of the gavel makes it official. I’m now one of “them.”
My family still believes as I once did, never having had to experience the judicial process. I’ve been deemed guilty, therefore I am. They turn their back on me and I find myself alone, in a place not meant for me, with no one to talk to. I’m afraid. I’m surrounded by “them.”
Weeks, then months pass. It can’t be. How is this possible? “They” are just like me. I’m no longer afraid. We talk and I realize we’re not so different. Am I becoming an animal? A sausage? Or had I been wrong all these years? Are these convicts actually human? With feelings? And people who care about them? I was so sure of myself. How could I have been so wrong? Me? I’m usually right.
Months turn into years. I now have friends. I share in their happiness, their pain. I read about a birthday, a graduation, a death. We smile, shed tears, but they never ask me about my family, because they know I’m one of them now.
I go into my cell. Bury my head. I don’t want them to know.
You may not think a few words scratched on a piece of paper to be very important but I want to let you know that they can be life changing. You have an opportunity to truly touch another human being in a way that most cannot comprehend. I’ve seen the power of words turn men away from hate and violence and lead them to enlightenment.
You may not think you have anything to offer or anything in common with someone in prison. Trust me. It doesn’t matter. Just knowing you took the time to write is more than enough to form a bond and cause one of “them” to come out from under his blanket and yell, “Hey, Fred! Look what I just got!”
If you would like to drop Kenneth a line, email us at email@example.com for his contact info.
Support for people who have been convicted of a crime is not a popular cause – but only because we’re not looking at it from the proper perspective. Support does not mean providing cable tv, video games, and haute cuisine – it means humane treatment and care, mentorship, education, and outside support, so that each incarcerated person emerges whole, equipped to live a productive, crime-free life. The most common reason that people end up in prison is that they have no positive social networks. The inherent darkness and isolation of prison only exacerbates that – which in turn leads to high rates of recidivism. Ninety-five percent of incarcerated people will be released into our communities, so their success and well-being directly impacts all of us.
Suffering is the problem, not the solution.
Below is a note I received today from one of our adoptees, Josh.
My name is Josh and I have been in and out of lock up facilities since I was 12 years old. Throughout my life I have had little or no support from anyone in my family. Due to that I went in search for support from the wrong people such as drug dealers, gang bangers, and other kids like me.
At the age of seventeen I commited a robbery and was sentenced to six years in the Indiana Department Of Corrections. At seventeen! I have been locked up for over five years and during that time I have had no support from my family. No visits, no phone calls, no letters, no love. In my five years I have seen so many people go home and come back to prison because they had no one to help them adjust to society.
After being locked up for so long, people forget how to function in the real world. MOST inmates are intimidated by the thought of going home. That is so sad and wrong. I used to feel the same way. Then I was introduced to a wonderful family called the Adopt an Inmate family. They introduced me to a loving, caring, and supportive mentor. Because of the support she has given me, I am no longer intimidated by the thought of getting out — because I know there is someone who will be with me and help me.
The saying goes, ‘Two wrongs dont make a right.” How is condeming someone to life behind a wall, alone, right?
We receive over 1,000 pieces of mail each month, and are currently overwhelmed with requests from inmates and their families. Everything we do is accomplished only with the help of volunteers, small donations, and money from our own pockets. As of September 2017, we are taking a six-month hiatus from NEW INMATE REQUESTS ONLY, so that we can respond to what is already in front of us.
We care, and are dedicated to getting everyone on our waiting list (now and in the future) adopted. This temporary break from new requests will help us do that.
♥ This does NOT apply to new adopters or volunteers – only to inmates who are not currently on our waiting list.
♥ For anyone who has already requested a survey, please be patient while we respond – it could take several months but we will answer everyone’s request. Requests that included a self-addressed stamped envelope will be responded to first.
♥ For inmates who have already received a survey – please complete and return (kindly write “completed survey” on the outside of the envelope.)
Inmates — Do continue to submit:
♥ Inmate change of address (please write “COA” on the envelope)
♥ Art / Poetry / Book Reviews / Writing submissions (please indicate on outside of envelope)