Cedar Rapids Weather
Ministry Helps Former Addicts and Offenders Rejoin the Community
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
LINN COUNTY, Iowa - Samuel Lockett used to be locked up. He never dreamed that today he'd be buying his first house.
"I'm two years drug free, I've maintained employment for a whole year, and I own my own vehicle," Lockett said.
The former drug addict and alcohol abuser attributes much of his success to the Jail and Prison Ministry program.
"A lot of society gives up on us and those support systems give us a means to bounce back," Lockett says.
Deacon Bill Hickson has been with the Jail and Prison Ministry Program for five years. He says society cannot afford to give up on people like Lockett.
"So many of these people if they are just given the chance, they'd become productive members of society," Hickson said.
And in a tough job market amid recession, rehabilitation programs like this are crucial.
"They are probably put at the very end of the list of everyone's list for hiring," said Hickson.
Jail and Prison Ministry is run through the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Dubuque. Right now, 150 trained mentors are working with about 70 recovering offenders across Northeast Iowa.
"Every time one of our clients turns their life around and leads a crime free path, they're creating fewer victims in the community," said Kim McIrvin Executive Officer for the 6th Judicial District.
The program is spreading in Cedar Rapids with a new area coordinator and a new location at Sister Mary Lawrence Community Center on 6th Street Southeast. The hope is to bring hope to those ready for help.
"Our goal with this ministry is to really help people help themselves," said Deacon Tom Lang, "It's about support, but it's also about accountability."
The program is currently seeking to train new volunteers. You can call click here to visit their website. You can also call 800-876-3546 or 563-588-0588 for more information.
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