5 and a half years in prison and a job offer by sundown 3 days from release...

Jimmy caught me at the Chaplaincy's door on Wednesday to tell me he was just next door at St Joseph the Worker to see about employment and he needed an Az ID. He was referred to the Chaplain's office to get his Department of Corrections card turned into an Arizona State ID so he could register with SJW's services. He had been released from prison the day before. I explained what he needed to do to see us and he was at the top of the list the next day.

Now...other than his cheerful, polite demeanor the above paragraph isn't so unusual. We see lots of released prisoners. What stands out about Jimmy is his willingness to admit his mistakes and use his time productively while in prison. I don't know why Jimmy was given 5 years in prison but I do know what he did while in there. He got his GED, he took many classes regarding being clean and sober and he began college psychology classes. He worked and went above and beyond what he was expected to do. He had a neat folder with all of his certificates and achievements carefully organized. He started the financial aid process to continue his college work from the outside. He is taking classes in psychology, social work and addiction counseling. Jimmy is proactive!

Reentry into society is sometimes extremely difficult. Many are unprepared handle life on the outside. If they have no family they are directed to the Human Services Campus and hopefully they make it through temptation jungle out front to actually utilize the fantastic services inside. I have seen men 30 years behind bars ask to make a phone call and look at my cell phone like it was beyond their comprehension and indeed it was! I had a gentleman who was so scared of messing up... he had lists and lists of what he needed to do and when he needed to do it. I'm not sure he realized he wouldn't get in trouble if he didn't get them all done before lunch.

I really think Jimmy is going to do great things with his life. God seems to be pushing him along and allowing his mistakes to be a lesson for someone else. Jimmy says he'll keep in touch with us along the way... Hopefully, I'll be able to relate his progress and maybe someday we'll see Jimmy down here giving back to the community in a much different role.