Church helps people with addictions learn to live free
According to a government report issued last week, the United States is incarcerating its citizens at record rates. The report said that 6.6 million Americans were either behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year.
This means that one out of every 32 Americans is now somehow under the control of the criminal justice system.
The Justice Dept. said the number of adults supervised by the criminal justice system rose by 147,700 between 2002 and 2001, which is a 2.1 percent increase.
In 1990, the number of Americans under the control of the criminal justice system was almost 4.4 million adults.
The cost to society of incarcerating so many people is staggering. Because of the huge increase in incarcerations, county, state and federal corrections resources and manpower are stretched to the breaking point. In Indiana, it costs an estimated $22,000 to incarcerate an inmate for one year, not to mention the cost of courts, law enforcement and parole officers.
This does not include the price of the damage these people have inflicted on their victims and to society in general.
In Harrison County, probation officers are overwhelmed with cases, and the jail at the Justice Center is usually close to full.
These stats represent lives. Lives that should have been productive and contributed to the overall good of our society if they had not been touched by some kind of personal addiction leading to criminal activity. These are people who might have been good fathers, mothers and civic leaders if they had not taken the wrong road in life.
One way to reduce these numbers is to help people overcome their addictions.
Calyton (Skip) Arp says many inmates are in jail because of life- controlling addictions. Arp is director of Louisville’s Teen Challenge Ministry, part of the largest long-term, faith-based recovery program in the United States.
He said recently in Corydon that a corrections officer at a state prison in Frankfort, Ky., told him that up to 75 percent of the inmates are there as the result of life-controlling issues and addictions. This often leads to crime and relationship problems.
“We want to be able to help people through these life challenges,” Arp said. He is now leading a faith-based video training program called “Living Free” at Trinity Assembly of God Church in Corydon on Wednesday evenings. The program is open to the public and is designed to help people overcome addictions so they can be free to lead good, healthy, constructive lives and, in turn, be able to help others.
“Addictions can be food, sex, drugs or even working too much. They are whatever controls your life,” Arp said. “We all have issues in our lives that we need to deal with and overcome. This program helps us work through the issues in our lives. It works because it is based on the Word of God and building solid relationships.”
Arp, and his wife, Beth, conduct six “Living Free” groups in Jefferson County (Ky.) corrections facilities each week, ministering to about 70 inmates facing life-controlling issues.
“It’s hard to tell how well this program really works with the inmates until they are released and are back in society,” Arp said. “We have developed a ‘Life Plan’ that allows us to continue developing a relationship with these people after they are released.”
Anyone interested in attending the “Living Free” video series can contact Trinity Assembly of God at 738-2516.