Have a Little Faith
The Innerchange Freedom Initiative began this week at the Women's Correctional Facility in Vandalia, so KOMU'S Tyler Profilet decided to see how the program was working at the Algoa Correctional Facility in Jefferson City.
"We spend most of our time in the Word," said inmate Brian York.
That's what Innerchange Freedom Initiative, or IFI, participants Keith Fletcher and York do at Algoa Correctional Facility. The IFI program is a values-based Christian program for inmates 18 to 24 months away from their release date. Inmate Brian York says the decision to join IFI was easy.
"[We joined the program because of] our need for a life change. And that life change comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ," said York.
The IFI program serves as a big lift for the more than 17 inmates who participate.
"[The program is helpful] at times when you need someone to just listen to you and not necessarily to explain how to work through those situations, but to listen to you," said Keith Fletcher, inmate.
And those struggles are what the counselors are there to help sort out.
"Yes, your life seemed impossible, that's because it is impossible without God," said Bill DiGennaro, IFI Counselor.
While the program is based around Christianity, that's not the IFI's only mission. One of the goals of the program is to help inmates build strong relationships in prison and to foster new relationships after they are released back into the community. Knowing they'll be able to continue their faith when they are released is what drives Fletcher and York.
"I'm so looking forward to when I can move back into society and getting involved within a church," said York.
That's the plan at Algoa, and now in Vandalia. The Innerchange Freedom Initiative is entirely funded by donations and run by volunteers. For more information on the program check out the link at the top of the page.