Idalee and Prison Fellowship: After my time in Los Angles ended for the first time, and substance abuse had me withered down — I was in a bad crash that changed everything. I began trying to make good on the second chance I’d received. And then I saw an internship opportunity at a place called Prison Fellowship – a company that dedicated itself to second chances.
Prison Fellowship does awesome work with incarcerated people in America’s prisons. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with them on this project. Heal is a special song for me. It was inspired by my own journey seeking second chance. It was also inspired by my work interviewing prisoners and their families. Some of the men and women behind bars genuinely want to change. These folks screwed up – no getting around that. But their stories resonated with me, and with hearts full of genuine remorse, many want to contribute positively to society when they get it out. They want to come home and heal.
And that’s the thing, friends. The VAST majority of incarcerated people here are coming back to our neighborhoods. They’re against an often-impossible uphill battle when they get out. The mark on them keeps them from getting that job and fitting into a community that allows them a real second chance – a chance to be a productive member of society, and a productive, loving member of their family.
If we focus on what’s going on behind the walls, we can influence the way these people come out.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to live in a society that punishes criminal activity. People do horrible things. They don’t get to skate on by. But for those that want to change, I want to see a genuine second chance after they’ve served their time. The productive power of our incarcerated population is insanely huge.
Healing happens inside when we actually look behind those walls and care about their outcome. I know it’s a tough sell. I know they have committed crimes. But there are issues across the board; from sentencing (like mandatory minimums and overly harsh drug penalties) to the supposed “rehabilitative” activates in our prisons. If these folks are coming back to our society, don’t we care what kind of person they are when they arrive?
I got a second chance – I dodged incarceration myself, through what is essentially a technicality. Prison Fellowship’s work and vision for peaceful communities and healed families hits me hard.
After being torn apart myself by drug addiction and bid decisions, I am on my way to a new reality; productivity, a family, a purpose and a desire to give back. I think many of our retuning citizens can get this. Yes it’s a tough sell. But I’m not advocating not punishing offenders. I’m advocating caring.
The documentary/music video project with the men in that prison was so much fun. The prison band blew me away with their musical ability. When I showed up, they knew my song (possibly better than I did), and they performed it with me flawlessly. My crew and I went around the prison; we met and interviewed many of the guys and they had some pretty poignant things to say. I’m over-the-top happy to share their words.