Released Alabama Prison Inmates Receive Help With ‘New Start’

Shepherd's Fold residents work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Birmingham's Arlington-West End community. Photo courtesy of Shepherd's Fold
Shepherd’s Fold residents work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Birmingham’s Arlington-West End community.
Photo courtesy of Shepherd’s Fold

Imagine what it’s like to go decades having someone else make all your decisions for you from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.

Then imagine — overnight — having to start making thousands of decisions a day.

That’s the reality of inmates released from Alabama’s prisons every year and it’s not an easy thing to process, said Jack Hausen, director of Shepherd’s Fold, a ministry that helps recently released men and women re-enter society after incarceration.

“We have to change their thinking to ‘how do we handle these freedoms we now have?’ It’s a reorientation process,” said Hausen, a member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, Ala. “The mentality is ‘do the crime, pay the time,’ but we (as a society) don’t do anything to rehab these people.”

That’s why Shepherd’s Fold was started — to keep these men and women from becoming part of the high percentage of former inmates who end up back behind bars.

The ministry was started by Mary Kay Beard, a former bank robber who came to faith in Christ while incarcerated at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka.

Thirty years later, Shepherd’s Fold has five houses in Birmingham’s West End area around Princeton Baptist Medical Center. Beard also started the Prison Fellowship program, Angel Tree.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Grace Thornton/The Alabama Baptist