By Cheryl Brown
Who would have thought it, an ex offender program honoring the judge that put so many of them away, but recently, thats exactly what happened. Time For Change Foundation honored the newly elected Mayor and former Judge Pat Morris. Time For A Change provides transitional housing to homeless and re-entry services to women and children who have been incarcerated.
With a contagious passion for women who may not have made the right choices and have ended up on the other side of the law, Kim Carter, founder and executive director knows what they are going through. She is a former drug addict and spent time in jail. Carter changed her entire life and found the Lord and accepted her calling to help others. Like her at one time, clients with their children spoke from the heart. As soon as I was freed from prison, outside the door was Kim, said one woman. She met me at the gate, put me in recovery and gave me a clean place to live, said another. A video of women whose children were visiting them in prison had many wiping their eyes. Calling the women diamonds in the ruff, Carter said it is time for a change.
In his address Morris said,There is a saying about the $200 gate money. With instructions to report to their Probation Officer in 24 hours it is Out the gate by 8, on the spoon by noon; Unless Kim happens to be at the gate to meet them. Otherwise they smoke up the $200 in a heart beat, he told the audience. In his 30 years on the bench he has seen it changed from rehabilitation to punishment. He said that legislators bragged about their bills to increase terms. But there is a real cost that society is paying.
It is important to find safe housing and a job; they cant stay out without one. The prison Industrial Complex is the most potent force in the nation. There are over 3 million officers and the political guards are generous with positions. The system he said is out of control, he said.
He spoke of former California Correctional head, Rod Hickman, who tried for two years to reform the system, he resigned. After him Jean Woodford was appointed, she resigned. This administration will not take over the system from the guards! he exclaimed. He accused the guards of closing down successful programs. In Blythe he said that there was a program to rehabilitate but the guards closed it down protecting their turf. We have to return to the word rehabilitation. We have to help prisoners return to society, he said.
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