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Prison Reform Without It We Are Doomed

Prison Reform Without It We Are Doomed

  Teila Tankersley, Yahoo! Contributor Network - 03/27/2011

What we need are programs in place that have the potential to penetrate a criminal's value system. We need to teach them a skill and mandate that they make restitution. You think this sounds 
expensive? Well it certainly isn't cheap and it all comes at a price but we need to find a find a solution to close the revolving door.

Marty Angelo

Meet, Marty Angelo an highly ambitious man with a big heart; a gifted speaker, prison minister, an author, former music business entrepreneur and an ex-con. He's been working with prisoners for over 30 years and has had success seeing thousands of men and women break this cycle.

Angelo got his first breaks in the music business from "the late Jimi Hendrix" and "the late George Harrison." He managed several bands including Buffalo's Raven and the popular Top 40 rock group, The Grass Roots starring Rob Grill. And yes, it was Angelo who created, wrote and produced the '70s trendy dance television show, Disco Step-by-Step® and in 1978 was voted one of the Top 25 disco record promoters in the United States.

He had it made, had talent, friends and money and the world was his play ground. Then in 1980 Angelo was arrested on two counts of possession of cocaine. He states "When the police showed up at my door I felt only relief" - so much so that Angelo approached his upcoming prison sentence not with dread but with anticipation and showed up at the gate bearing a suitcase full of bibles and teaching materials which he enthusiastically distributed to any inmate who would have them. 

Angelo served six years in a federal correctional facility on a drug conviction. Thankfully at the onset of his arrest he cried out to God for help and that is exactly what God did. God immediately began transforming Angelo from the inside out, filling a huge void he had in his heart. Angelo served out his sentence and since his conversion has been passing the torch and the message onto others.

Reaching out and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God to prisoners, substance abuse recovery program clients, and troubled celebrities has been Angelo's mission and passion. His ministry utilizes

life-changing books, evangelistic outreaches, and follow-up resources to reach lost souls. Angelo is a man on a mission and he has some pretty impressive credentials that are actually too lengthy to even mention in a short article such as this.

Bright and witty Angelo is the first to admit he always got into trouble growing up and somehow, he would end up at the police station on a regular basis, 'something just wasn't right', but he didn't know what it was. Angelo realizes now that God was missing from his life, a void that only Jesus Christ could fill.

Angelo's life was forever changed the moment he placed his faith and trust in Christ. He is an inspiration to many and believes that Christ is the key for those looking for a purpose and real peace. Check out his website at http://martyangelo.com

Angelo has written a book about his life and his ministry and I encourage you to purchase, "Once Life Matters: A New Beginning." It is his story and reveals how God turned his life around. A man who had it made working in the entertainment business from 1965 to 1980 as a television producer, record promoter, disk jockey, restaurant/nightclub owner and personal manager for rock 'n' roll bands. But, it was not until he met Christ that he really started living. Over 60,000 books have been distributed 'free of charge' to prisoners, substance abuse rehab clients, and troubled celebrities.

His book leads us through his regeneration from a life of drugs and lawlessness to becoming a Christian teacher, counselor, and speaker. Angelo is a strong advocate of faith-based programs and he understands firsthand the power that Jesus Christ can have on an individual.

Faith-based inmate programs are popping up all across the United States whose purpose is to share basic Christian principals with inmates and their families. We are seeing a lot success with these types of programs and it is exciting.

With the help of these Christ centered programs inmates learn skills that are vital to succeeding on the outside and also gain a sense of purpose and value. These programs encourage inmates to lead productive lives free of criminal behavior.

Statistics show that without any type of rehabilitation programs three-out-of-four of inmates released from prison will re-offend within the first three years of being out. In 2009 reports show that in California it costs an average of about $47,000 per year to house an inmate. We cannot afford to simply lock up a criminal only to let them spend the majority of their time lifting weights, becoming violent and thinking about their next crime. We need for them to discover a purpose in life and learn a skill so they can succeed on the outside. We can and have to stop that revolving door.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Website stats in February of 2011 the current inmate population in the US was at 209,609. Angelo believes that God can make a difference in the lives of these men and women and provide them with a new lease on life breaking the cycle of a repeat offender. There are way too many incarcerated people and Angelo needs our help in touching their lives.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Website states that, "research has conclusively demonstrated that participation in a variety of programs that teach marketable skills helps to reduce recidivism. Additionally, institution misconduct can be significantly reduced through programs that emphasize personal responsibility, respect, and tolerance of others." Accordingly, the BOP offers a wide variety of program opportunities for inmates that teach pro-social values and life skills. These programs include literacy and occupational training, the Life Connections Program, parenting programs, and mock job fairs. 

To read Angelo's story order his book, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning.

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35 Comments

Lori Gunn - 6/10/2011 - excellent - thanks for sharing :) 

Lucy M - 4/23/2011 - Great article! you are very inspiring and a role model for others! 

Sandy Rothra - 4/19/2011 - We need more programs to help those who want to return to society. 

Oscar Crawford - 4/14/2011 - My feeling on this beyond your proposal is that the justice system bears no profit and a radical alternative must be considered like desert property to be exiled to where taxpayer dollars are not responsible for providing for the life needs of persons who have grieved and harmed the society putting the guilty in exile. What logic does it make or a woman who has been raped or had her loved ones murdered to have to support the life of the one who has caused her harm. I am sour on American Justice. Thought of being an attorney. Got graduate degrees in divinity and justice to seek answers. There are none the way we go. Survive the exile for your term with no support is your ticket back. 

Sheri Fresonke Harper - 4/6/2011 - The costs keep many outside of prison:) 

Jack Wellman - 4/2/2011 - You really make great sense on this article. I hope that others will see that this is an area that is in desperate need of reform. I can tell that only God helped reform me while in prison. The system as is doesn't help any prisoner to do so. 

Sheryl Young - 4/1/2011 - Great points! 

Delicia Powers - 4/1/2011 - Well done! 

Lorraine Yapps Cohen - 3/31/2011 - Wouldn't it be nice to have these kinds of programs BEFORE criminals got to prison. 

Jeanne Baney - 3/31/2011 - I'm glad to hear of this success story. Thank you! 

Philip Theibert - 3/31/2011 - So true!!! 

Marilyn French - 3/30/2011 - Thanks for sharing. I love hearing inspirational stories. 

Bridget Ilene Delaney - 3/30/2011 - Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong. ~Jeb Dickerson 

Mary O'Malley - 03/28/2011 - Great article! =D

LarrWayne Po - 03/28/2011 - Some will not rehabilitate, but it would be nice if those with the desire had an opportunity.

Jason Nichols - (Guest) - 03/28/2011 - This makes total sense to me so why isn't this being implemented at all the prisons?

Melissa Matters - 03/28/2011 - I agree. I'm all for spending money on preventative care...in this case preventing people from committing more crimes through reform.

Laura Cone - 03/28/2011 - good job

Andy Schneibel - (Guest) - 03/28/2011 - I AGREE!!!! well written

Mike Powers - 03/28/2011 - Excellent article as always. Thanks!

Lodie Quezada - 03/28/2011 - great

Sherri Granato - 03/28/2011 - Excellent work A value system is what these people are missing. Under different circumstances many of these people would have flourished, not faltered.

Jack Wellman - 03/28/2011 - Fantastic work my friend. I so agree with this. Angelo is spot on the mark. You both have a heart for the disenfranchised, like Pastor Darin Carroll....you both have such a wonderful heart for this work. Truly God has the power to break free those who are imprisoned from the inside out. Sterling work Teila. You just get better and better. No wonder you are a published author. Bravo!

Charlotte Kuchinsky - 03/28/2011 - Beautifully written.

Priscilla King - 03/28/2011 - Dittos Tony Bowers. I remember a whole sequence of robberies that turned into a real detective drama because people at a church college refused to admit that an allegedly reformed burglar had backslidden...he had, of course. The robberies were EXACTLY like what our burglar had described himself having done in the past, but people seriously wanted to blame someone who was not capable of having committed the robberies, instead.

Donald "Don" Rothra - 03/28/2011 - Excellent work.

Lee Hansen - 03/28/2011 - Yes because if something isn't done they will definitely be back in prison again. Praise God for what He has done and continues to do in Mr. Angelo's life. My brother has been involved with prison ministry for 30 years and knows the power and implact of a changed life for those in physical prison bars. Good article.

Susan Russman - (Guest) 03/28/2011 - I don't want them coming back from prison moving in next to me if they have not been rehabilitated!

Leroy Coffie - 03/28/2011 - good work

Deb Martin-Webster - 03/28/2011 - Wow what a great story of reform and strength! Kudos to Mr. Angelo!

Michele Starkey - 03/28/2011 - My husband volunteers with Kairos Prison ministries. cheers :)

Carol Roach - 03/28/2011 - we have our own prison minister here who writes such passionate stories - Jack Wellman

Martin Kloess - 03/28/2011 - YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Mary Oberg - 03/27/2011 - A very inspiring story. I agree that prisons need to also have rehabilitation programs to help the inmates have a chance to potentially change their lives while there.

Tony Bowers - (Guest) - 03/27/2011 - Hey I recognized Mr. Angelo from one of those talk shows, he puts his money where his mouth is. Good guy, I just don't know if prisoners all really want to change but it sounds like a good goal at least. Great article.

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Marty Angelo's book, "Once Life Matters: A New Beginning" is available online at Amazon.com

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Marty Angelo Ministries, Inc. is an outreach ministry to prisons/jails, substance abuse recovery programs, and troubled celebrities.

Once Life Matters is a second chance ministry that brings hope to those who are weary from the weight of the world with the love of Jesus Christ.

Once Life Matters Ministries, Inc is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gifts to which may be deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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