Quarterly Newsletter – August 2016
Thank you so much for your continuing support of Prisoners of Hope Ministries. Your financial support, your prayer support, and your personal encouragement mean so very much to all of us.
From the Editors Desk
This has been a difficult month. For some reason the burdens seem to lay a bit heavier. It may be the heat, but I believe with all my heart it goes deeper than the weather. Over the past few weeks, we have seen way too many families struggle with the issue of incarceration of loved ones—sons, daughters, nephews, husbands. We have witnessed the breakup of marriages and watched spouses struggle as they attempt to raise their children while the other parent serves a long sentence of imprisonment. It can be emotionally wearing and a source of defeat if we do not keep our eyes on the True Source of our Peace—Jesus Christ.
This Truth came home to me this morning as I read for the umpteenth time the struggle the Israelites had in leaving Egypt. Over and over again, Pharaoh refused to hear God. Over and over again the result of disobedience fell, not just on Pharaoh, but on all the people of the land. Everyone suffered! But victory did come! God parted the Red Sea and the people crossed over.
I relate this story to those families who pray again and again for their disobedient loved ones! They refuse to listen, and the punishment comes—and everyone suffers. But victory does come! As we continue to pray, God opens the Red Sea, and unbelievably, the disobedient listen, repent, and cross over into a life of peace in the arms of Jesus. The letters we receive attest that God is the victor! He will use whatever means are necessary to get our attention—grasshoppers, bloody water, car accidents or imprisonment. Here is a recent example:
From the Heart of an Inmate:
All my life, from the age of 13 up til the age of 41 years, I’ve been using drugs and gang-banging, and robbing innocent people. After my mother died from an overdose when I was 14 years old, things took a turn for the worst. Everyone I came in contact with I hurt. I didn’t care about nothing or anyone at that point. My only care in the world was getting high to numb the pain of the loss of my mother.
I was homeless for many years until I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I finally turned to God after I came near death from running a car off the freeway and landing in a grave yard. I knew right then God wasn’t ready for me yet, and I wasn’t ready to die at the time, either! So I prayed to God and asked Him to show me a better life. And He did!
But, I still chose to continue living my own life and here I am, being disciplined by God for being disobedient, but God used my disobedience to prepare me to finally submit and listen to Him.
Big Business in Arizona
Many of you may have heard the recent news broadcast that talked about the Federal Government’s suggestion that private prison contracts be cancelled. In case you missed it, here is a quote:
On August 18, 2016, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates announced that the Justice Department intended to end its contracts with for-profit prison operators, because it concluded “…the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services…”
That newscast caught our attention, so we began to do some research. How many private prisons operate in Arizona? How many inmates would be affected by a cancellation of their services? We were in for a big surprise!
Three separate “for-profit” corporations operate and manage eleven (11) prison facilities in Arizona—Correctional Corp. of America (CCA), GEO Group (GEO), and Management and Training Corp (MTC) based out of Utah. CCA is the big one, managing six separate facilities; GEO is next, with four facilities, and MTC is at the bottom of the list, managing one facility in Marana.
CCA’s Arizona facilities, all located in the Florence and Eloy area, hold inmates from California, Hawaii, Arizona and Vermont! Contracted parties include these states, as well as the US Marshal’s Office and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforce-ment). The estimated number of inmates housed in these CCA facilities total 12,306.
GEO Group operates four Arizona facilities, all of them, with the exception of the Kingman Prison, are also located in the Florence and Eloy area. GEO works only with the AZ Dept of Corrections, housing 5,880 inmates in these four facilities.
MTC operates only one facility in Arizona at this time (you may remember that MTC was the company who managed Kingman Prison at the time of the big riot they had there last year). Marana is their one remaining facility in Arizona and is operated for the ADOC as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment center. An estimated 500 inmates can be housed at Marana.
So what is the bottom line? 18,686 inmates housed in eleven facilities within Arizona. Estimating that figure in dollars and cents is beyond my job description—but, it does look significant. Not sure what it all means, but a little education never hurts!
News and Updates
- We want to bring you up to date on what is going on with Nevada and New Mexico. Breaking in to new territory is a slow business. In order to be successful, we must build a bridge of communication and trust with the officials who manage the prison facilities in those states. At this point we have 51 students in the two states, and the majority of those are from Nevada’s High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs Nevada. Our biggest source of referrals is always the inmates themselves, and as word travels, we will grow. Continue to pray for open doors there. (And for good friends in the Mail Rooms!)
- During the 2nd Quarter of this calendar year, we celebrated five Graduations. Five inmates successfully completed the full two-year study program and were gifted with a leather-bound study bible of their choice.
- We distributed 1,364 bible studies and registered 128 brand new students into the program. A big round of applause, please, for our faithful volunteers who registered students, graded, answered questions, filled out reports, stuffed envelopes and licked stamps for hours every week.
- Speaking of volunteers, we want to welcome the newest member of our staff, Yvonne. She has graciously agreed to act as instructor and translator for our Spanish speaking students. Praise the Lord, and thank you, Yvonne. What a blessing you are! We currently have a caseload of 52 Spanish speaking students.
- We have distributed 152 bibles this past quarter, and Jim has conducted 50 worship services at the Maricopa County Jails.
- Jim also worked with 75 inmates in one-on-one counseling Jim has a well-deserved reputation for integrity and speaking truth in counseling which sometimes results in more appointment requests than he has time for. (Is that why he never gets home in time for a hot meal at dinner time??)
- I tell everyone that the reason I walk with God now is Johnny Cash! I will always remember your (Carol’s) testimony that Thursday before Christmas when you told us how you got saved at a Johnny Cash concert. Without your testimony I might not have the Holy Spirit with me now!
Inmate, Marana Correctional
(A slight exaggeration, I am sure, but this letter was a real encouragement for me, personally J
- God has given me and my family so much. He has showed me the errors that I have made and I have corrected them and ask Him for forgiveness. I am now finding direction in His Word.
Inmate, Kingman State Prison
- When I came to this place, all I knew about God is that there must be one. Now I know who He is and how He is and what He is trying to accomplish with everyone called by Him (including me!). Thank you for being caring enough to help me understand these truths.
Inmate, Eyman State Prison
- I would like to thank you for giving me so much hope by studying the in the Word of Our Lord. You are truly a good friend. Throughout my study I have learned in order for me to grow I must transform my life and the only way to do so is with the Word of God, and to have brothers and sisters in my life like you. I really appreciate everything you have done for me.
Inmate, Yuma State Prison
- Through your ministry, Prisoners of Hope, I have found an inner peace because of God and your encouraging words. I am thankful Jesus has come into my life and heart and shown me these things, and filled me with His Spirit. To those who pray and encourage me at Prisoners of Hope, I thank you.
Inmate, Eyman State Prison
- I’m a recovering heroin addict. I have been clean since March, 2014. I know its only because of God’s Grace that I am even alive. I didn’t care if I lived or died; I was at the end of my rope and other than death, I saw no escape. But God intervened and allowed me to be arrested. Now I know God loves me and has a plan for me.
Inmate, Tucson State Prison
- On my son’s birthday, I got your letter and response to my prayer request. Your prayer touched my heart and moved my spirit. I started to cry as I read it aloud, and as you may already know, its hard to cry in prison, knowing that people would consider that a form of weakness. I want to thank you for praying for me. Just knowing someone out there cares for me, a sinner and complete stranger, I thank God for you and your organization. You lifted my spirits that day when I was feeling really depressed. I thank you again.
Inmate, High Desert State Prison, NV
Don’t ever forget that each one of these letters comes from a man or woman whose life has taken a desperate turn. They have made the choice, and now they pay the legal price. But, praise God for His unending Grace and Mercy. His arms are open wide to those who trust in Him and trust in the price He paid for all of us
We are the Body of Christ! And as a united Body, we can reach out in obedience to His call!
Never stop praying! And always Believe!
We love you and are grateful for your prayers for us and your support of this ministry.
Jim and Carol Carper
Prisoners of Hope Ministries
PO Box 428
Youngtown, AZ 85363