FreshStart helps motivated inmates across the Southeast gain access to education and preparation for release through two programs: Men In Transition (MIT) and Help Inmates Receive Employment (HIRE). We also support newly released ex-offenders with transitional supervised housing and job placement so they can successfully re-enter their communities.
The MIT program, offered 2 years prior to release, is delivered through a curriculum rooted in Christian values, character building, leadership training, soft skills development, and hard skills training designed to assist inmates in developing values, literacy, writing skills, computer skills and vocational training. Each participant is coached to achieve a GED and Work Keys certification.
HIRE, delivered simultaneously with MIT, provides focused job skills training for inmates who are demonstrating readiness for success. Participants are prepared to step into jobs that meet the needs of area employers and benefit the community by reducing recidivism and enriching the work-force with inspired employees.
Due to increasing numbers of incarcerated program participants, expansion of post-release housing capacity is critical for maximum recidivism impact while making neighborhoods that house ex-offenders safer.
While we are building our ‘headquarters’ for the Charleston area, we will be looking for other states within the Southeast with which we can partner. We want to take the FreshStart Visions Prison Ministry Model into numerous other states. Yet, we want to work with states who are prepared to help fund the growing operation and invest in our future together. And we want state governments who will cut red tape and move mountains to get the opportunity to participate in this program that will save them tens of millions of dollars annually.
FreshStart Visions programming is based upon the Christian philosophy of redemption and restoration. An “inside” program called Men in Transition, which focuses on character traits and attitudes that are essential to secure and maintain employment, involves teaching and training inmates during the last twenty four months of their sentence.
Inmates voluntarily participate in structured classes where they engage in role playing, practice critical thinking skills, and learn from volunteer mentors to help prepare for their re-entry to the community.
The participants must learn to:
Deal respectfully with authority.
Become transparent – working with a mentor to isolate behaviors that brought them to prison and to address them constructively.
Take responsibility for their actions, both past and present. If you ‘mess up, you fess up’ and work to make amends.
While still imprisoned, some FreshStart Visions inmates live in character housing units which are less restrictive, and encourage the men to police themselves in a pro-social living environment. Many other inmate participants live on “the yard”. All participants of Men in Transition, whether housed in a character unit, or in the general population are taught to collaborate with and help each other. After release from prison, the ex-offenders are provided with three key elements:
Supervised housing in a supportive Christian atmosphere
Structured coaching and mentoring, provided by staff, volunteers and the faith community.
Through these support systems, men are given hope, material and spiritual support. The transformation of their lives is nothing short of a miracle.
FreshStart Visions welcomes participation from all churches and community organizations who want to help these men get reintroduced and reintegrated into society as law abiding and tax paying citizens who want to live constructive and fulfilling lives in community with their neighbors.