Hope for Inmates
The concept of restorative justice means giving back to the community you've hurt. Some prisoners have found a way to support children who have even less than they do. And volunteers believe this program will help inmates feel pride and avoid a return to prison.
(Locator: Pittsburgh, PA)
(Chaplain greeting children) "You guys did such a good job singing today."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway, United Methodist Chaplain: "I'm Reverend Kimberly Greway. I'm an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and I'm the director of chaplaincy services at Allegheny County Jail. It's a difficult kind of ministry. It's relentless. Often times you have people return to jail multiple times."
Leland Chalmers Raymaley III: "My name is Chipper Raymaley. In the past five years, I was locked up six times."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway: "We found something that works to reduce the recidivism rate, the rate of return to jail, from 65 to 18 percent. It's called the HOPE Program and it stands for Helping Open People's Eyes. It's a residential, therapeutic community that is interfaith. They have a term of eight weeks in which they have classes three times a day."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway: "In each of the small groups, they were given the challenge to come up with a covenant that they would all sign. So it could be things like, 'I will be kind to my family on the phone.' 'We will meet for devotions at 7 o'clock every morning.' As their accountability to each other went up, they earned the right to sponsor an orphan in Zimbabwe so that child could go to school. I feel called to be in ministry with the people of Zimbabwe. I just have a great love of the country and the people. And I think every child has the right to go to school, and if we can make that happen child by child, so much the better."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway: "Now, obviously, the inmates couldn't send the money over to sponsor the orphans. So, I looked around in the community for people who would be interested in sponsoring in honor of the inmates."
Leland Chalmers Raymaley III: "Our group sponsored Constantine Zinhumwe. We wrote to this kid and the kid wrote back, and it was amazing."
(Raymayly reading letter) "I write this letter to tell you that you will be my friend."
Leland Chalmers Raymaley III: "He wanted us to come visit. He was so excited about this sponsorship, and it was only $60. He was kind and loving. And what love does he know? He doesn't know his parents; they're gone. I plan to sponsor an orphan from Zimbabwe for the same reason that The United Methodist Church does it. I want to make a difference."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway: "There is an idea out there about restorative justice, giving back to the community you've hurt. I think this goes one beyond that: giving back to somebody who has even less than you do. That gives the inmates a sense of pride that they have done something good even while incarcerated."
Leland Chalmers Raymaley III: "The most meaningful thing I learned while being on the HOPE pod was the meaning of love."
(Kimberly Greway preaching) "In my capacity as chaplain, there are many humbling moments."
The Rev. Kimberly Greway: "It reminds me that God's image is on each person, whether a chaplain, a volunteer, inmate or Zimbabwean orphan. We all bear the image of God on us and since we do, we need to treat one another as a child of God."
For more information on the HOPE program, call 412-688-9070 or visit the website.
Posted: August 23, 2011