Yesterday in Dallas,Texas the Potter's House Bishop TD Jakes and a host of local, state and national law enforcement officials celebrated it's 2013-2014 graduating class of the TORI program. The Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative exists to reduce recidivism, making former inmates productive contributors to society.
Judge Greg Mathis was on hand to speak to the graduates and share his perspective and testimony of personal triumph. Judge Mathis (known for his television court show) shared his first-hand knowledge of the many challenges that exist after conviction. His triumph defied the many odds facing past offenders who often process through revolving prison doors with no prospects for a brighter future.
The program was birthed from the Potters House Prison Ministry and boasts scores of success stories. TORI success stories come from all backgrounds and times served. Working in tandem with the Potter's House, many law enforcement officials nationwide share the commitment to make the future better for former offenders and make conscious efforts to move forward with their lives.
During his address to the church, Bishop Jakes detailed the program's present success and vision for the future. He then asked those in attendance to stand if they knew a person affected by incarceration.
Astounded, Bishop Jakes remarked: "...how can we not care about it? Everybody in the room has been affected by it!" Detailing the reach of the program, Bishop shared Jesus' words found in Matthew 25:40, taking what many consider the 'least' of society and making them great contributors to the world around them.
Guest speaker Judge Mathis addressed the graduates with a challenge entitled: "Using What God Has Given You to Achieve Your Purpose". The message empowered the graduates to look within and use their natural gifts and talents to make the world around them a much better place, taking full advantage of the new opportunities afforded them by the TORI program and ultimately 'Make it Happen'.
"...how can we not care about it? Everybody in the room has been affected by it!"
By the numbers...
Speaking to the media contingency before the ceremony, Judge Greg Mathis said that his 7 month sentence of incarceration cost nearly $30,000. Comparatively, the total cost to obtain his Bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University cost roughly $24,000.
According to TORI director Tina Naidoo; the daily cost for the TORI program is $4/day, as opposed to the $60/day price tag for incarceration in Texas.
The celebration continues as the graduates embark on their new lease on life. Special thanks to The Potter's House, Bishop TD Jakes, and the TORI team for access to this special report.
For a full report including a photo gallery and special graduate profiles, please visit the SoulProsper Media Group.