Eugene didn’t know what to expect the day he went back to jail in Bowling Green. I assumed he thought it would be like the rest, “Go back to jail, do my time, and then get released a few months later and stand idle on the side of Kentucky St. alone, while waiting for a ride or to decide to start walking left or right because no one is coming for me”. But as he had experienced in the past God had something bigger in mind this second time around.
Eugene is from Louisville, KY, a father of three with a fiance and mother waiting to get married. When he got in trouble with breaking parol he knew he was going back to jail. He was working a decent contract job cleaning the Kellogs plant in Louisville. He was making good money, trying to be a good father and provide for their basic needs.
As he arrived back in Bowling Green to serve his time for breaking parol he was given a chance to join an eight week Jobs for Life class offered by us. What he didn’t know was that God was about to take him on an eight week journey focusing on learning his identity, the importance of character, integrity, and community through the eyes of God’s Word and the dignity of work. He sat with 11 other men, seven whom he shared a cell with and four older men who he had never met in his life, but shared about how much they valued him and the other men in the jail. As the class dwindled down to three men in the Jobs for Life class and four Jobs for Life champions Eugene stuck with it and is graduating this week.
Unannounced and unexpected, Eugene was released from jail today and put back on parole. For inmates this is usually bitter sweet. Inmates are released just about everyday and are to stand on Kentucky Street alone waiting for either a ride or trying to decide to start walking left or right because no one is coming for them. So, as you can imagine it is a very exciting, but lonely time.
Well on this day Eugene was not alone! When he was released, even unannounced to Sergeant William Baker, who handles the reentry program for the Warren County Jail and chooses inmates for the Jobs for Life program, called me immediately. I then immediately called his Jobs for Life Champion (mentor) to let him know of the great news! I was able to rush over to the jail to meet him outside and talk for about 30 minutes and rejoice with him for all he had accomplished in earning his right to be back in society again. I was looking at a changed man, not because he was released, but because he encountered the message of the gospel. We discussed what his plan was from here and how we can help him get settled back with his family and employment. When most inmates are released they still don’t know who they are and have no community, but on this day Eugene left that jail knowing who he was in Christ and a Christian community advocating for him just as Christ is advocating for us! Please join us in praying for Eugene and the other Jobs for Life students. This is just a glimpse of the many lives being impacted by the Jobs for Life ministry at Hope House.