criminal justice ministry

Ministry’s refusal to give up on people pays off

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At an apartment in south St. Louis, Jerome Arnold greeted Phillip Melton as if they were old friends. But they'd only met a month earlier, after Melton had been released from prison.

Melton told Arnold that the move was simple, he'd unpacked and even lost weight. Most importantly, he hadn't had an alcoholic drink since he left prison.

"Way to go," Arnold praised Melton, referring to him as, "a good man, a good person, not a hassle."

SLU initiative at jail removes barriers to success

Joseph Jones, a maintenance technician at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, stopped by a McDonald's for lunch Nov. 8 to find one of the graduates of the St. Louis University Transformative Justice Initiative working there. He'd heard about her success in being productive and staying sober since being released from the institution.

School suspensions seen as part of ‘pipeline’ to prison

Billy Harris calls himself a homesteader in Normandy where he grows his own food and tends chickens and ducks. Billy Harris grew up in southwest Missouri and was incarcerated for his participation in the beating of a man to death when he was 16. He now lives in Normandy and works as a youth justice advocate after seeing first hand what is known as the school to prison pipeline.

Billy Harris grew up in southwest Missouri and started getting into trouble with the law at age 14, receiving unsupervised probation for providing a license plate to his half-brother after he escaped from jail. Harris said that he didn't learn anything from the encounter with the criminal justice system, and no one seemed to take an interest in his future.

Event helps ministry close gap after state cuts

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke with people at a recognition dinner hosted by the Criminal Justice Ministry on June 1 at Moulin in St. Louis. Archbishop Carlson accepted the Luminary Award on behalf of the Archdiocese of St. Louis at the event.

The funding gap for the Criminal Justice Ministry caused by a state budget cut is closing, but the ministry still needs financial support to help the agency with its outreach.

Since 1979, the Criminal Justice Ministry has supported and empowered people impacted by incarceration. The agency provides jail and prison ministry, client re-entry services and advocacy for community safety and criminal justice reform.

‘Godsend’ to ex-inmates struggles after cut in state funds

Brian Moore, who spent more than three decades in prison, said he felt that no one cared after he was released from prison for the first time, after 10 years. With the help of the Criminal Justice Ministry, he is on the right track in his life. The ministry, what he calls a “godsend,” helped him get an apartment, job and someone to take care of, his dog Ruby.

Brian Moore spent more than three decades in prison. The first time, he was exonerated after going to jail at age 16 and spending 10 years in prison. But with limited education and skills and resentment about his conviction, he said, he felt no one cared whether he succeeded.

Debate rages about giving money to pandhandlers

K2 is a synthetic drug that is relatively cheap, which makes it a popular choice with panhandlers and homeless people. Andy Conway says he has experience with the synthetic drug. Organizations such as St. Patrick Center recommend donating to service agencies that help people in crisis, rather than giving to panhandlers who might use the money to support their addictions.

A rash of overdoses recently among St. Louis' homeless population from a synthetic marijuana product, K2, raised the issue of the merits of donating to people who ask for money from pedestrians and motorists, especially during the season of giving.

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