When a prisoner is sentenced to prison, all who are close to him/her are affected – spouse, significant other, children, parents and even friends. When the prisoner goes off to serve time, those that are left behind feel the void and it can be really tough, especially financially. If the prison is close to home, there might be regular visits that ease the pain for an hour or two but these visitation trips cost money.
The prisoner’s basic needs (three hots and a cot) are met by the prison facility but any extra needs are not. Usually the prisoner will have a job that might pay $1/day (big money inside the prisons) but that money goes to buy hygiene, snacks and stamps. Extras do cost and it’s usually the inmate’s family that feels the extra burden.
The loved ones of the prisoner are outside living day-to-day without the one who was there before and it can be a strain on the emotions and finances. What is the solution? Should the government have to provide for the extras that make living inside the walls easier for the inmate? No, I don’t think so but I don’t think the family should carry the extra burden either.
It costs more than time when a prisoner is sentenced. It can cost the family and the cost can be high. Purpose in Prison Projects was founded in an effort to lighten the burden of the family and government and also to provide a way for the prisoner to give back to society even from inside the prison walls.
See how PiPP can help in this imaginary scenario…
Johnny was sentenced to 10-years, for white-collar crimes, and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution. He was earning the majority of income to provide for his wife, Susie, and their two children before he was incarcerated but now his wife is forced to work full-time to support the family. Since the arrest, there have been added expenses, including the after school day care for the kids, visitation trips and extra needs for Johnny. More expense but less income. Susie is feeling the strain and wonders how they are going to make it 10 years.
Johnny hates prison and has a lousy attitude. He feels helpless and without hope or purpose. He knows the mistakes he made are now causing financial and emotional problems for his family. He has a job in the kitchen but his $7/week only pays for his shampoo, stamps, and instant coffee but not the pair of sneakers he needs. He has been given a pair of boots for kitchen work but those no-sole sailor shoes offer no support and are likely to cause foot and leg problems if that is all he wears for the next 10 years.
Johnny is a creative writer and with the time that he has after his job, he has been writing the book of poems that has been in his mind for years. He is able to express a lot of his inner turmoil through poetry. Johnny heard about the services PiPP provides from Susie during one of their visits. She tells him about the writer and art coaches that have been helping other prisoners. He gets excited because now maybe there is a possibly he won’t have to wait until he gets out to edit and publish his book.
Johnny sends his manuscript into PiPP after the guidelines of submission are met. PiPP takes his book and treats it, and its author, with dignity through the entire process. PiPP’s services include editing, publishing, and distributing of prisoners works/arts. The proceeds can be used to pay down restitution, child support and court costs. Trust funds for children of the incarcerated can be set up and correspondence college courses can be taken. In addition, the prisoner has the opportunity to give to a charity or ministry. A portion is sent into the prisoner’s account, which lightens the financial burden of the family.
After about six months, Johnny’s book is being sold online and in bookstores. His sales are small at first but he is not disappointed. He now feels like he is contributing even if it is in a small way to help his family. He feels he has value and purpose even from the inside. His attitude improves and he has hope for the future. He starts writing another book and begins to interact more with others inside and is encouraging those who seem lost and without hope. He is paying down his restitution and Susie does not have to send Johnny money because of the extra received from the books sales.
PiPP’s passion it to see prisoners find purpose and value from inside the prison walls. There is a real need to help these prisoners, especially the ones that may never be released. We believe the prison walls should not eliminate the opportunity for them to give back, find worth, and live life with purpose.
Together it Works,