Investing in, and transforming, lives

Posted in: Society
Oct 18, 2012 - 11:02:22 AM

When Dennis Hall was released from prison four years ago, he was facing $79,500 in fines and had no job. But unlike many who attempt to become reintegrated into society after serving prison terms, Dennis had a supportive mother and a home to go to until he could get back on his feet.
Having accepted Christ while behind bars, he was now freed from the bonds of addiction and eager to share the good news of the gospel with others.
“I was in the jails five days a week and involved in several of the recovery programs at different churches,” he recalled this week.
Oklahoma has a recidivism rate in the 80-percentile range, one of the highest in the nation.
Many of those released from jail/prison have three strikes against them from the outset. With no driver’s license (and in many cases, no car), no money, no job and few willing to hire them, nowhere to go and little or no support system, re-entering the society they left behind is no mean task.
Many are, according to Dennis, “doomed to failure.”
“This cycle (of recidivism) has to be broken,” he observed, “and only Jesus Christ can do this.”
For the past two years, the Recovery Church in Duncan has been serving Stephens County through its work with the parole office, the drug court, the sheriff’s and DA’s offices, DHS and other agencies in a cooperative effort to supply housing, jobs and mentoring to parolees.
And the families of the men in prison? They are frequently set adrift on stormy seas without a rudder. The recovery ministry is seeking to provide, not only for these fatherless families, but also for parolees and their families.
The ministry has already housed several men released from prison in rental properties and recently purchased the first of what they hope will be a number of homes for the same purpose. These living arrangements are temporary, available only until the men become re-established.
Furthermore, the ministry is looking to buy an 8,000-square-foot Castle Home on 26 acres in Duncan. The church needs to raise another $100,000 toward the purchase price.
If the ministry acquires the structure, they plan to convert the living space into five efficiency-type apartments for the wives and children of men doing time.
Public tours of the building, located at 2010 North 5th in Duncan, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, prior to the Recovery ministry’s annual Jubilee Celebration.
“We have been involved with the Lord transforming many lives and families,” Dennis concluded. “This could not have been possible without so many committed folks who share the vision.”

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