Restoration House will be for VA inmates only since there would be too much red tape for us to deal with interstate compact agreements with other states. Since this question has come up from inmates who heard about the Restoration House Program we felt this was necessary to include on our Web site.
One of the main reasons for a program for men and women to be parole into is for a slower transfer from the structured life in prison directly into society with much less structure. The residents of the program will be provided with a job immediately upon their release. Before the inmate is released the staff will seek a job for the inmate so he can begin work right away. If the resident has a specific skill and has been incarcerated for a long time we will try to get him some training to update his license so he can get back to making good wages again. It will be the staff’s desire to have places for untrained people to get a job so eventually they will be able to get their own employment and housing after being released from the program.
Some of the people being released will be married and this program will provide counseling to help restore broken relationships and budgeting information to help the couple keep their bills as a priority. The men will also have chores they will do to keep the house clean and get them used to washing their own clothes and cooking their own meals, and seeing to the needs of the property. We also hope to perhaps raise some hogs and cattle for food, if possible, and the men will also be responsible for them and any other animals such as chickens to provide fresh eggs for the men.
Of course, the raising of animals and other such plans will all depend on where the Restoration House is set up and established. It may be if the support is not provided we might have to rent a large house at first and start there until we can prove this programs is something the will be a benefit to the furtherance of the kingdom of God here one earth until Jesus returns.
There will be daily records kept of the behavior of the men and how they interact in the house as well as at work; what their attitude is toward the chores they have to do and their attitude at work and how they get along with others. Each time the parole officers come to the house to interview the men, these records will be turned over to them to actually give a more detailed picture of how the residents are doing other than the just during the 15-minute visit the parole officer might normally have.
Financial records will be kept separately for each inmate and he will be obligated to pay his house rent first and then each month it will be mandatory for him to pay court costs, restitution, fines and any fees that the parole officer or judge demands to be paid before the resident can be released from parole. The program is not just to house men who have been incarcerated for very long periods of time and get them back into society; the program is to assure the parole system we have society's interest in mind as well as the residents’.
The resident will be given a very small weekly allowance since all meals will be provided; the rest of his finances will go to provide support for any family. He is responsible for their rent, food and other necessities, not to include things like cable TV and other unnecessary expenses.
All of the spiritual meetings and programs will be able to be mandatory as long as the program does not receive money for state or federal grants. This is another reason for us requesting support from churches businesses, and individuals. Only as God leads do we ask you to pledge an ongoing gift to the monthly or yearly support of The Restoration House Program.
There will be a morning prayer time before the men leave the house for work and, a short prayer time at lunch at work. When the men are at the house there will be three major times of prayer and Bible study, plus a nightly time to share blessings or problems that have occurred during the day. The prayer time will be lead by the men, who will alternate being in charge. They will be evaluated on how well they prepare for the meeting, and it will go in their folders for the parole officer to see that they are actually taking part in the spiritual aspect of The Restoration House program. While the men are at the house they will be under 24-hour supervision.
There will be a director of operations who will serve during the day while most of the men will be at work, and a replacement for the evening to be there for the men and supervising at night. There will be no surprise visits from family or friends, all visits will be approved after the men have completed a portion of the program and have proven to be responsible for receiving visits, unless the visits are for counseling from the house staff. Losing privileges will be part of the discipline if the men show poor attitudes or do not perform their duties in a timely fashion. So there are both love and discipline in this program and we want the residents to know the love of God while also understanding that they are responsible and accountable for their actions.
This program can only work with the voluntary help of the community and the financial support of Christian businesses and local churches convinced that God is calling them to assist us help “the least of these.”
Giving to a program like Restoration House will help men and women be more stable when they move into their own house at the completion of the twelve month program. The idea is to assure that these people do not return to a life of crime. They will not be given a free handout in this program; they will be paying for room and board, so eventually the majority of the costs of this program will be paid for by those being blessed through this program. The money donated for the program will be to pay for the property, the building, and any additions to the building. Remember, we want to have a house for men and, as it proves to be successful in the spiritual aspect of keeping the men from returning to a life of crime, we plan on building another house for women, which will be run by a female staff. Then we want to offer this program to other areas for Christian rehabilitation programs. The ministry board has seen and agrees with the need of such a program. Giving to this work will not only be a blessing to the men and women who were incarcerated, but to their families as well through rehabilitation of the habits that may have caused this man or woman to be incarcerated in the first place. When this person begins to live a godly life, he or she will no longer be a burden to society. Many people unfortunately feel that inmates are getting what they deserve and have no desire to help them. It is a shame that we as Christians do not look upon our own sins as bad as those who have been incarcerated. In the long run this is not a godly attitude and it will come back to those who feel this way. “...with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” These men and women will be released someday into our communities; wouldn’t it be better if they were born again before their release, and will be discipled for the twelve months of this spiritual program as they transition back into society?
Restoration House will be a 12-month program for qualified inmates.
Information for inmates to fill out to apply for residency in the Restoration House Program
These brochures have to do with the Restoration House Program. They will give you an idea of the importance of the program not only to the residents going through the program, but the importance to society in general.
The inmate will have to fill out a detailed application, and he will have to read, agree with and sign a ďhouse rulesĒ form along with a "spiritual guidelines" form.He will be made aware that all rules are mandatory, not suggestions.The inmate will have to have been involved in church and Bible studies before his release and have a history of a God-seeking spiritual quest prior to being released into the Restoration Program.
What Can The Restoration House Do for the Criminal Justice System?
When an inmate has no family or home plan (a place to go when they are released from prison), the prison system has little or no idea what to do with him when he has served the majority of his sentence. Our program will supervise the residents for a designated time and provide mandatory daily work, insuring that their income pays for restitution, court costs and that it supports their families while they are at Restoration House.We will also ensure the needs of the resident are met during the 12-month program.
Inmates who are released to Restoration House will be supervised 24-hours-a-day.Places like Restoration House can help free up space in state prisons and county jails, as it provides a place for an inmate to be released who might otherwise not qualify for release.This program will allow men who have already served the majority of their sentence to have a chance of being released into a structured community before they are released back into society, as opposed to continued housing in a prison paid for by tax dollars. There is a better way than just housing men until they have to be released. Our program offers this alternative.
What Can the Restoration Program Do for the Family?
Many programs are exclusively for the man or woman who has been incarcerated, but the Restoration Program will encourage families to receive counseling offered by our program. We will offer marital counseling and a 12-step Overcomers Program for drug and alcohol recovery. This will be a Christ-centered program with Jesus Christ being the higher power in the meetings. There will be help for strained or broken marriages, which may have deteriorated while one spouse was incarcerated. The other spouse has suffered just as seriously, but in a different way. When the resident first arrives at the house he will be restricted to house and work until he earns privileges, such as going into town to shop or going out to dinner. During this time we will be closely monitoring the attitude and behavior of the resident to see how he fits into the life of the Restoration House. After he has established himself, his family can come on weekends for visits and cookouts. Counseling sessions will then become available to reunite them in a more intimate and Godly way. Every effort will be made to bring residents back to a stable relationship will all family members.
What Will Restoration House Provide, and What Will be Expected of Residents?
It is the duty of the Restoration Program to further the residentís knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. While we will accept men with various religious backgrounds, it will be mandatory for the resident to agree to follow all the spiritual guidelines of the house, which is totally based on Christianity. They will be held accountable for signing the agreements to follow the house rules and spiritual guidelines.
provide the resident with a job, housing, clothes, food, and personal hygiene items until they get on their feet.
provide, in most cases, transportation to and from work.
help, with approval of the local parole officer, the resident get his driverís license back
hold the paroleeís funds in an account for him and see to it that restitution, fines, and other court related costs are paid to insure getting off parole or probation earlier.
see to it that support for the residentís family to help pay bills is provided from the residentís account. Money will not be dispersed to family; however, rent and other bills will be paid from what the resident receives from weekly work. It will be mandatory for him to work every day, unless very ill. His rent for the Restoration House will be taken from his pay to assure the maintaining of the house.
work closely with local parole officers.
Restoration House the Before Pictures
As you can see in the picture to the left the house had a lot of grown up brush all around it and poison ivy covered much of the outside of the house. Volunteers came and cut the brush and removed all of the ivy and the picture on the right shows what this same view was after the much work was done.
As you can see in the picture to the left there was much that had to be removed other than just brush there was other items that needed to be hauled away. All together we hauled away 6 loads of brush and we still have at least two more at this point, and we hauled away at least 6 loads of construction trash from the remodeling with the 3 layers of old shingles taken off of the roof.
The man climbing this tree is one of the Spanish member of LWCF where I attend church. His name is Samie and he along with the man in the picture below took a day and removed tree limbs that hung over the house and porch roof which if they had fallen during a storm would of crushed the new roof we were ready to install. Many of the branches were already hanging down to the ground and needed cut so the lawn could be cared for without them being in the way.
As you can see the man in this picture Francisco (Paco) another member of LWCF joined his coworker and made sure he had the ropes clear and the things he needed while very high up in the tree. He also cleared the brush around the tree so the ropes did not get tangled up and endanger Samie.
All of these pictures are the before pictures. At the time of position these photos we have not yet installed the new windows or done the siding. When that is done we want take pictures of the house again and put these pictures on the Web site. When we get the Director of Operations position we will then be ready to use the house as we see the needs in the community.
As you can see the entire deck in the back of the house was rotted away and had fallen and it was some of the construction refuse we hauled away. We still need a deck at this point and the walls you see which were leaning have been replaced as has all of the rotted foundation wood around and under the house.
Below are more of the pictures of the house before we did any work on it and while during the work.
For the 12 months of the program the resident and his spouse will be taught to budget their weekly or monthly finances. They will be taught the dangers of using charge cards without the financial backing. They will be taught to save money by simply spending less than they make. Qualified counselors will address whatever the residentís past problems were, and during the 12-month program it is our desire to see healing in all areas of the residentís life and the life of his family.
We will keep residents accountable, but as they prove themselves, they will receive privileges for taking leadership in prayer meetings, Bible studies, or completing house chores, as well as how they interact with the staff and other residents. This program will be closely monitored to see to the spiritual growth of the residents. Residents will be expected to attend all Christian services, as this will be a mandatory part of this program. Therefore, we will not be able to receive any government grants so that we can continue to make this mandatory.
After Restoration House proves itself to be a benefit to the residents and society, we plan on opening a Restoration House for women and then to expand this program into other areas of this state and even into surrounding states.
The Restoration House Program is a result of the successful work this ministry did with another ministry. The forms and brochures were developed by this ministry and have been adapted for us to use, as well. If you or your congregation would like to know all the details of what we propose as to the Restoration House Program, we will be happy to provide more information.Also, we are in great need of financial support and sponsors for this program.If you would like more information or can contribute to this effort, please contact Rehoboth Jail & Prison Ministry at (434) 831-2593 or e-mail us.
Inmates speak as to the need for a Restoration House Program
28 February 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
As an inmate in the Virginia Department of Corrections, I see a need for post-release housing with a Christian values-based approach.
Many of us, due to our crimes, estranged family relationships, or no family or friends, will have no where to go upon our release from prison. There are not enough organizations or houses to go to in Virginia.
This is a set-up for failure and possible recidivism. Those of us who have attempted to live a life in Christ while in prison do not have options upon our release to continue our walk with Christ as we try to reintegrate into society.
I whole-heartedly support an effort to initiate and construct a Christian-based Restoration House. It is sorely needed and needs financial, spiritual, and physical support. God bless you all and good luck.
Dear Brother Ron,
I will first begin with a small testimony about myself and why I feel a Restoration House would be good for me.
At the age of 18, I went to prison for 3 years and was released at 21. I was released to a friend’s house because I have no family. My friend wasn’t very supportive for a man that just got out of prison without even a toothbrush to his name, no job skills because I got locked up at a young age and grew up in a dysfunctional family, and fines over my head. Here I was, 21, no job, no transportation, no license, a felon and without Jesus and I was not only asked to pay fines but just survive. It was overwhelming so I tried to sell drugs but ended up using and violated parole and I was still 21. I was glad that at least I was in jail with a place to sleep and food to eat because I couldn’t make it in the world without some type of help.
Well, on my violation I got 1 year and was released from jail at the age of 22. The jail didn’t require any address to be released to; they just let you out the front door. So what do I do? Here I stand, no place to live, nobody to turn to, and still no Jesus. Well, I hitched a ride with a girl and talked her into letting me stay a while, but she did drugs and partied, and I began to do drugs, too, and violating parole. Sincerely in my heart I wanted to change but really never got a good opportunity to do so.
So on my second violation, I also got 1 year. I got out with the same situation, 24 years old, no job, more fines, no Jesus, drug habit, no family, no stable friends. So this time I just beat the crap out of a couple police officers and got 6 years, 3 months and am on my way to prison for the fourth time and I was only 24.
Today I am 28, but now I got Jesus in my heart. I am in prison, but I do not know where I will live when I get out. What do I do? I’ve been locked up all my adult life. I’ll be released when I am 30. I have no physical possessions and no experience of living life on the street. How do I survive on my own? I feel like a sheep being tossed to the wolves. I’ve never owned a car, cell phone, home, went grocery shopping for myself, no credit cards, never hooked a phone up, etc. All I have done is drugs, criminal activities and spent 11 years and 3 months in prison. Prison has done nothing to rehabilitate me and train me with any job skills. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, my mind has been transformed and now equipped with the attitude and faith that I can do anything with the help of Christ who strengthens me and will give me wisdom.
All I need is an opportunity. Will the state provide and care for me? Or will they do as they have done for many years – put me out with a $25 check and told to survive and don’t violate probation or you will spend the rest of your life in prison.
Thank God for Jesus Christ who has loved a sinner like me and given me eternal life in his glorious kingdom, whom I am not worthy of.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a 36-year-old man currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole. I have been incarcerated for over 17 years, and hope one day to make it back out into society. At the moment, my parole release plan involves being released to live with my mother – who is 70 years old.
One of my main concerns is having a place to parole to upon release in the case that, God forbid, my mother was to pass away while I’m in here. I have a sex offense, so it is becoming more and more difficult for people with sex offenses to find a place to stay upon release because of society’s fears and the progressively restrictive housing guidelines for people with these types of crimes.
As a Christian, I believe that God will always provide one way or another, but I also believe in working hard and earning my keep. I am able-bodied and of sound mind, and would be willing to do any kind of work upon release. My goal is to stay out if I am fortunate and blessed to make parole one day. I know that I can only accomplish this goal by staying focused on the Lord and surrounding myself with positive people whose focus is also on the Lord and leading a healthy life.
I led a self-centered life prior to my incarceration, and that contributed to my downfall significantly. It is my desire to get involved with volunteer work in whatever community I move to. I have taken and taken in the past for so long, and I want to give something back – even if it is just my time – to help others.
I thank you for your time in reading this letter, and I pray that one day I may be a part of society again and prove that a person can change in prison. God bless you!
To Whom It May Concern:
For those of us who have nowhere to go when we leave prison, a restoration home would be a blessing from God. Some people in here who have been down for a long time, family die off, and we are left with nowhere to go. And for others, family and friends abandon them. This would be a great act of kindness and probably would help many.
To Whom It May Concern:
God’s children need your help! There is a real need for the support in and efforts in establishing a restoration house. There are brothers in Christ incarcerated and are going to be released that have nowhere to go and no means of support. Most of us have needed a hand up in our walk with the Lord.
We are not asking for a handout. Please ask your brothers and sisters for aid in showing our love and support. Thank you and may God bless you.
I am a regular old person who was raised in a middle income family and growing up I can’t really say as we had any wants that went unfulfilled. I was fortunate enough to have a mother and father and a stable household; a loving environment hopefully like yours and I still am grateful to God for it.
However, through my life’s path, I lost the home and children of my own which I had worked hard and did my absolute very best to provide for, just as my parents had. It is hard to continue after losing everything earthly that you love. So, it is that I now am writing to you as a friend in the family of Jesus and asking you to please care for the ones in your immediate life and if possible those not in your daily life’s routine. We can help and learn from one another. The need for stable housing is a very real and pressing issue all across the United States and certainly not just among convicts anymore, but all walks of life. Truth.
To Whom It May Concern:
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in September of 2000 while attending an outreach program (KAIROS), at Buckingham Correctional Center. From that day forward, my life was changed and I have been serving the Lord ever since. However, this letter is not just about me – though I will use myself as an example when warranted. It concerns a larger issue or need that encompasses many inmates incarcerated by the Virginia Penal System. Some of these inmates have accepted Christ and others haven’t. This does not detract from or alleviate the growing need that exists.The issue or need that I wish to refer to is having a proper place and support system that will enable an inmate to re-enter society once they are granted parole or released from the penal system; and to remain in society as a productive and law-abiding individual.There are some places (very few) which are commonly referred to as “half-way houses.” Most of these lack the proper and sufficient training, support and sincere desire to provide the teaching and tools that would offer the best opportunity and hope for successful integration into society, thereby reducing the rising rate of recidivism. Further, many half-way houses and similar programs have rigid entry restrictions, such as non-violent or sexual offenders, regardless to “good behavior – long term” or “exceptional institutional record.” Nor in many cases are there allowances for individuals who have been incarcerated for 20 to 30 years. I would also add that if an inmate has no residence or place to parole to then they are most likely to be denied parole.I have presented this fundamental information as preparative foundation to a request that arose during a Rehoboth Bible study class. I was asked, “Why do you think there is a need for a Restoration House and spiritual program?”My response to this question is two-fold: because there are practical, physical and spiritual needs and compliances. It is my opinion that actively addressing both these issues simultaneously would be the most appropriate means to a successful and sustaining integration of a paroled or released inmate into society. A sincere, comprehensive, residential program of this manner could satisfy public and state concerns regarding inmate release, while establishing a temporary and stable environment that restores the body, mind and soul of these needful individuals.To support my response for a Restoration House, I offer a brief and concise history of my own incarceration. With no criminal record, at the age of 23 I was convicted of two counts of first-degree homicide (1975). Sentenced to double life and parole-eligible in 15 years, barring no further crimes or institutional infractions, I became parole-eligible in 1987 for “discretionary parole” and each following year thereafter. Each parole denial has been rendered solely on the “serious nature and circumstance of the offense.” Though I am classified as a “model prisoner,” it bears no influence on the decision to deny, because the nature and circumstance cannot change.Therefore, I must consider other underlying issues or facts. Could it be that I am from out-of-state, with no financial holdings or source of income? That my only immediate family is a twin brother living in Ohio, which leaves me with no place of residence to be paroled to, or any real support system? Does my being confined for 30 plus years, out of touch with society and its changes in environment a contributing factor?The aforementioned practical issues could be construed as cause for parole denial. Yet again, such issues are beyond my control. However, I am a high school graduate, obtaining some college education while incarcerated. I have several vocational skills and I am a former veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served 3 ½ years. I reiterate that I am a true believer in Christ and actively serve God – including all Protestant programs and church services. In April of this year, I will appear for my 21st parole review and the following month I will be 56 years of age. As I close this letter, I offer these additional thoughts and opinions for consideration and encouragement. The state of this nation is physically and spiritually in dire straights. It is in need of God-fearing men who believe, know, and live upon the Gospel of Christ and are willing to step out in faith to share and teach the “true” Gospel of Christ. I believe that prison can be the proving ground and nurturer of men with real faith, if given the opportunity and support. God can and will use such men in a mighty way to restore true life to individuals and to this nation as a whole.
I thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration in this most important matter. May God bless and guide you and be with you always
A fellow servant of the Lord,
It would be very helpful particularly to men and women who may have only made one bad decision or choice and as a result lost everything they had materially speaking if you could find it in your hearts and it be God’s will to exhort and help a brother or sister in need for we are just people as y’all.
A stable home is priceless; it allows us to have a period of time to read just ourselves to living among the free society and would provide relief from the immediate concerns of all the money problems that seem to come right along with that.
I think that is a blessing we should all be thankful for and if you so chose, your help would be highly appreciated. May God bless us all accordingly. ,
A friend in JesusTo Whom It May Concern:
I would like to say that even though I am not officially a resident in the State of Virginia, I still want to voice my opinion on this issue. But first allow me to ask of you all to please open your hearts and minds enough to hear the cries of the many Christian brothers and sisters who are incarcerated, as I earnestly do feel that some form of halfway house is seriously needed to support the many Christian brothers and sisters within these institutions who are truly sincere in making a change within our lives. I personally think that such a foundation would inspire us to move forward in maintaining our self-esteem, dignity, integrity, morals, principles and character as we strive in that path of righteousness to be a productive citizen in mainstream society once again. But do bear in mind that such a change of life becomes so difficult for us to conquer when we are pushed back into society and have no concrete support of family members or community active to stand firmly beside us in helping us to encourage others to believe in our sincerity. So now in my closure of this letter, I ask for you all to give this matter at hand your deepest consideration before making your decision. I am sure that you will find within your heart and mind that this is the right solution to give you the people a chance to monitor our daily activities when we depart from these facilities and begin our process of turning our lives around with your effort to provide a program that will be well appreciated by many.This program will not leave us stranded in our only option of returning back into that same negative environment of life that got us here today. So now I ask you the people to diligently find within your heart to grant us this opportunity to keep our lives upright with Christ.
Sincerely from your Christian Brother,
To Whom It May Concern:
I am currently a prisoner in the Virginia Department of Corrections, and I am writing this letter to respectfully express the needs of the many men and women who are being released on parole or are being let out on mandatory dates.
There are many men and women serving time who will, at some point, be released, but after serving 20, 30, or even 40 years. These individuals are at a tremendous disadvantage. They have been away from society for so long that most have few family members or friends, no financial resources, and no place to live upon release. A large number of these individuals have a violent crime or a sex offense – both of which are looked at more harshly by the parole board. The parole plan of these individuals is scrutinized more intently by the board, and because so many of them have no place to be released to or program to help reintegrate them back into society, they are denied parole and continue to cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to be warehoused in prison. The majority of these individuals want to get out and stay out, but they have no support system on the outside – let alone a Christian-based program to be released to.
It is my belief that if there were more Christian re-entry programs set up, the parole board would be more inclined to release the men and women they have been warehousing into these programs. These programs have worked in other states, and statistics show that the overwhelming majority of individuals who are released to these programs do not re-offend. The key is that these programs are Christian-based. They offer guidance and support to the released prisoners, but are in no way what society would call “soft” or a “free meal.” The programs that succeed have a dedicated group of Christian supporters who are committed to seeing the program and its attendees succeed. Help in finding housing, jobs, obtaining a driver’s license and car, and learning to manage finances are just a few of the areas the released individuals need help in. These issues and other are very important to the individuals being released because it helps them re-establish themselves back in society and feel they’re a part of society – not just a number. This is important in that the programs would help provide a hand up – not a hand out.
Just as important in these programs, and really more so, there needs to be firm rules and guidelines that the offenders will be aware of going into the program. These rules need to be made explicitly clear to those running the program and attending the program, and they need to be enforced. This aspect is vital to the integrity and success of the program because by the rules being enforced and adhered to, the program will establish credibility with the parole board and society. If it is shown that the program is succeeding, the parole board would quite possibly release other offenders to the program.
There are a few places now that released prisoners can go to, but most of these are not Christian run, they are overcrowded, and they do not take in violent offenders or sex offenders. Most of the prisoners left in the prison system now are violent offenders or sex offenders, so there really is a need for a Christian run program or programs to help these individuals transition slowly back into society.
The state continues to build new prisons and spend millions and millions of taxpayer dollars on their construction, upkeep, and warehousing of prisoners. They have all but given up on rehabilitating prisoners through treatment programs, and the offenders who do get released are left with little to no preparation for how to deal with and live in a world that has moved on without them.
I humbly and respectfully present this letter to you in the hope that it will offer a clearer picture of what so many women and women not getting out of prison today are facing. Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for any help you can provide on this issue. God bless you!