Group brings Christmas to jail

By: By Natalie Davis - ndavis@ansonrecord.com
Contributed photo Safer Communities Ministry recently provided Christmas bags to detention officers and inmates at the Anson County Jail. Pictured, from left, Daryl Oliver, Tracy Oliver, the Rev. Iris Tillman and Capt. Freddy Paxton.

The Safer Communities Ministry staff brought Christmas bags to the detention officers and inmates at Anson County Jail and are working to bring their programs to the jail as well.

SCM already provides a chaplaincy service at the jail.

This year, thanks to Sheriff Landic Reid and Capt. Freddy Paxton, the SCM staff was allowed to bring theChristmas bags consisting of Christmas cards with stamps and envelopes, candy, socks, the Gospel of John and seasonal reading material.

“Our goal is to show the officers our appreciation for their service and to show those that have made bad choices that people do care and there is a better way,” said Daryl Oliver, the executive director of SCM.

According to their website, SCM is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that provides rehabilitation programs for inmates, ex-offenders, addicts, and their families. It also states that SCM partners with churches, religious organizations, community and government service providers, businesses, and civic groups in Union County and surrounding counties.

Based in Union County, the SCM staff and volunteers teach Life Skills classes, provide Chaplaincy services, conduct Bible Studies, and provide spiritual guidance and support to the inmates.

“Our goal is to teach incarcerated men and women how to be good Godly individuals with integrity and character,” according to the site.

“It is proven, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting,” Oliver said. “If you don’t change your thinking you won’t change (your) behavior.”

The life skills classes help individuals see the error of their ways in the past and equip them with skills to transition back into the community, Oliver said. These classes include substance abuse, parenting, finances, goal setting, and job readiness.

The site states that their mission is to come along side those who are struggling and help reintegrate them back into society. It also said that SCM believes that anyone can be transformed and made new through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Our goal is for each individual to be rehabilitated and for broken families to be restored,” the site said. “We provide hope to the hopeless and empower the weak to be strong.”

SCM provides a resource list to the inmates that includes where to go for jobs, housing, food and counseling, among others.

SCM provide services to assist and support spouses, children, siblings, and the extended family. It’s stated that they are building safer communities by transforming the lives of inmates, ex-offenders, those struggling with addiction, and their families one person at a time.

Oliver said that SCM has been in the Union County Jail for 25 years, where its chaplains teach life skills to the men and the women. He also said that those who go through the seven-week program and follow-up with SCM on the outside have a 14.5 percent recidivism rate (chance of them returning) compared to the 50 percent recidivism rate in the normal population.

“We have a contract with Union County which allows us to track our former clients for a four-year period and our statistics are logged in the county office,” Oliver said.

It costs $27,000 per year to house an inmate at the UCJ.

“We saved Union County $1.87 million over a four-year period on just the ones that go through our program and do not return,” Oliver said. “We cannot measure the effects on the families who have parents, guardians, sons or daughters that do not return to jail but become Godly men and women of character and integrity.”

He said that they are also on the front lines of the battle of addiction; they get individuals into detox and treatment programs, and most of their referred treatment programs are of little or no cost.

Upon release from treatment, SCM has six addiction recovery meetings throughout Union, Stanly and Richmond Counties.

According to Oliver, their Second Chance Re-entry Network coordinator currently has a men’s and women’s home which houses up to 32 (clients), and is a yearlong program in Monroe.

“We also are looking to start a support group in Anson County,” Oliver said. “Our ARM meetings (are) not just for those struggling.”

Half of those who attend are loved ones who learn not to be enablers and codependent, Oliver added.

“We are building safer communities by transforming lives so that the broken find healing, takers become givers, and tax liabilities become tax paying, law-abiding citizens,” Oliver said. “We are currently in the process of working with Sheriff Landic Reid to bring our life skill curriculum to the Anson County Jail.”

The site adds that, “communities will be safer when the broken find healing; takers become givers; and tax liabilities become tax-paying, law-abiding citizens.”

Contributed photo Safer Communities Ministry recently provided Christmas bags to detention officers and inmates at the Anson County Jail. Pictured, from left, Daryl Oliver, Tracy Oliver, the Rev. Iris Tillman and Capt. Freddy Paxton.
https://ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_anson_bags.jpgContributed photo Safer Communities Ministry recently provided Christmas bags to detention officers and inmates at the Anson County Jail. Pictured, from left, Daryl Oliver, Tracy Oliver, the Rev. Iris Tillman and Capt. Freddy Paxton.

By Natalie Davis

ndavis@ansonrecord.com