Ministries partner to help York inmates adjust to life on the outside

Ministries partner to help York inmates adjust to life on the outside

Matt Carey and Dan Katz are both dedicated to helping people who have taken a wrong turn in life.

While they work with people on opposite sides of York County’s Prison bars, both believe it makes sense for the organizations they lead to partner helping inmates make the transition back to the community.

“Two-thirds of the people we serve are coming from prison, and there is a shock factor for them coming out,” says Matt Carey, CEO of LifePath Christian Ministries.

LifePath, formerly the York Rescue Mission, has spread the love of Jesus for 56 years, focusing on bringing food, shelter, and clothing to those who need them.

“Now, we’re doing it in a more holistic way,” Matt says. “We’re asking, ‘What are the root causes of your being stuck in this crisis? Is it education, addiction, a mental health issue?’”

While inmates have their physical needs met, that may not be so with spiritual needs.

“We put pastors behind bars and minister to the needs of inmates,” says Dan Katz, Director of Chaplains for Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Now in 22 U.S. states and 25 countries, his organization has been operating since 1961.

Making a connection

Matt and Dan both use the phrase “warm handoff” to describe their partnership in helping inmates transition to life on the outside.

“Good News Jail and Prison Ministry, working inside the prison, is beginning to change lives,” Matt says. “They have asked inmates what they need to change their lives, which is what we need to know to help them once they return to society. We are sharing the data.”

While the spiritual focus will always be first for LifePath, the holistic approach means identifying and dealing with the reasons people end up behind bars and helping them get back on their feet once they’re out of prison.

“If we just dump them out there and say, ‘Good luck,’ guess what? We’re going to see them in prison again within a month to a year.”

The group hopes to hire some inmates through work release programs. This would help inmates pay court costs, fines, and restitution, as well as gain skills and make contacts for when they finish their sentences.

Good News’ focus is also first on the spiritual needs. But, Dan knows this alone won’t keep a person from returning to jail, so helping inmates make the connection to a group such as LifePath is vital.

As Matt notes, many people in prison have burned bridges to their former lives, losing marriages, families, and jobs.

“If we just dump them out there and say, ‘Good luck,’ guess what? We’re going to see them in prison again within a month to a year,” Dan says. “What we want is to give them a way, when they get out, to become an active part of the community, be a better mom or dad, get a job, pay taxes, and become a part of a community of believers.”

Gaining exposure

Matt and Dan hope their partnership will let supporters of each organization know what the other does and why it’s important they collaborate.

They also want the larger York County community to be aware of their work, because by helping inmates re-integrate to society, the community benefits.

To this end, LifePath and Good News are hosting a golf tournament Monday, August 20, at Regents Glen Country Club. The entry fee of $150/golfer or $600/foursome includes the round of golf, a breakfast and awards luncheon for the morning flight, lunch and an awards dinner for the afternoon flight, snacks, beverages, and a gift package.

“It’s an opportunity to let folks know about the partnership and each group separately,” Matt says.

While the two ministries are privately funded, both groups want the golf outing to raise awareness even more than money, Dan says.

“We want to get our story out and gain exposure.”

Interested in participating?

Click the image below for more info or to register for the golf outing.