Topics: Prison Life: Why you are here and how do you get out and stay out?
Speaker: E. Laird Mortimer, III
Parish/Organization: Trinity Episcopal Church, Tariffville
I grew up in Baltimore and had a happy childhood and a quaker education. My dad was a doctor and I went with him as a youngster. Sometimes, he left me in the car across the street from St. Mary’s Industrial School. I never saw anybody on the playgrounds and always wondered what they did. The boys were always screaming out through the bars on the windows. When I misbehaved, my dad would “lovingly” say he would drop be off there because they made something out of Babe Ruth, maybe they can make something of you. This began my curiosity about what goes on in prison. I came to Hartford to attend Trinity College and remained afterwards. I tried several times to be a volunteer chaplain at the Morgan Street Jail but was rejected. During Easter 1988, Bishop Rowthorne celebrated communion there and I carried his bag and entered with him. I asked if I could come back and pray for the men in the cells, and they welcomed me. I prayed with the men of Morgan Street Jail for five years and then volunteered for an additional five years at the youth wing of Hartford Correction Center, praying with the men as individuals or small groups. In 1995, I began the Kairos Prison Ministry, a four day in-prison event for 35 inmates and 35 team members. We would go back monthly for follow-ups. We did 45 weekends in Connecticut prisons. I learned why men and women come to prison, what they do while there, and why so many come back again. Committing crimes is only part of the process. I also saw the incredible success of the Kairos program, where about 18% of the graduates are re-arrested versus about 75% of the general prison. Almost every man or woman wants a relationship with Christ and it is the only answer to getting out and staying out of prison. Kairos is in 900 prisons in the USA.
Presentation Length: 30 minutes + Q&A (can be adjusted)
Availability: Variable. Preference for weeknights
Geographic limitations: Anywhere in CT.
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