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Young Christian Professionals help ex-convicts reintegrate

Religion News Service writes that most volunteer organization Young Christian Professionals offers support to prisoners before and after release to help them renter society. The stigma of being in prison and a lack of practical employment skills often make it difficult for ex-convicts to find jobs.

Even with the necessary skills, former prisoners can face legal barriers after serving their sentence. State legislatures have enacted as many rules barring previously incarcerated citizens from holding certain professional licenses.

The article continues:

Some 600,000 people leave U.S. prisons every year, only to encounter a series of roadblocks to reintegration.

Stanley Frankart knows. He was one of those people.

Frankart’s various forms of incarceration began at age 10, when he broke a schoolmate’s jaw. He then cycled in and out of juvenile detention centers and correctional institutions on various drug charges. When he was 16, he shot someone in the face and got a 10-year sentence.

By the time he left prison in 2017, he had spent 18 years under the supervision of the legal system.

Harold Dean Trulear, national director for Healing Communities USA, an organization that trains congregations to help prisoners after their release, said there are lots of groups dedicated to offering support for those reentering society, but probably not enough.

Frankart’s own turnabout began on the floor of Richland one day in 2011, when he was 21 years old. Two gangs got in a fight and Frankart found himself on the floor badly beaten, kicked and stabbed.

“I remember laying on the ground and realizing in that moment how powerless I was over my own life,” he told Tisby on the podcast. “And so through this process, I’m on the ground and I said, ‘God, Jesus, whoever you are, if you’re real, get me off of this ground.’”

That began a journey in which he attached himself to three Christian men in prison and began studying the Bible under them. He followed that up with self-study, including a 16-week Urban Ministry Institute capstone curriculum and a leadership role in the local prison chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In 2015, he was sitting in the prison’s library studying when he saw what he called a ragtag group of men and started a conversation with them. It then dawned on him, “Your missions field is here.”

Young Christian Professionals was born.

Read full article here.

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