Holy Week, Second Chances: FFTP Frees 234 Nonviolent Offenders for Easter
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 11, 2023) Last week during Holy Week, 234 nonviolent offenders from Haiti and Jamaica’s prisons found freedom and a second chance, thanks to Food For The Poor (FFTP) and generous donors who support the charity’s prison ministry.
The majority of these prisoners were jailed primarily for stealing food or livestock to help care for their families.
In Haiti, FFTP paid the fines of 232 men and women from six prisons including Cap-Haitien, Fort Liberté I and II, Grande Rivière du Nord, Hinche and Mirebalais.
Jean, a father of six, was imprisoned for three years for stealing a half bag of rice and two cases of spaghetti to feed his starving children.
Because his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child, Jean is both father and mother to his children.
Lumael was imprisoned for six years over a family dispute involving land. His brothers, who accused him, refused to appear in court and it was later discovered Lumael was not guilty of land theft.
He has tuberculosis and more recently had cholera, his health deteriorating day by day. Lumael thanked FFTP’s donors and prayed to God to bless and protect all of them for the rest of their lives.
In Jamaica, two prisoners were released from the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.
One of the released inmates, a 24-year-old fisherman who is the father of a 1-year-old son, had been incarcerated since October because he was unable to pay his fine.
“This is the light for me, Food For The Poor stepping in to give me a second chance,” he said. “I cannot afford to come back here. I have a son. I have to set a better example for him. I would like him to become a successful, working citizen because I don’t want him to go on the wrong path.”
Guyana, which has participated in the prison release program each year, had no eligible prisoners with outstanding fines, so no prisoners were released.
After the release ceremonies in Haiti and Jamaica, each man and woman received a Holy Bible, a change of clothes, personal care items, food and a monetary gift to help with transportation back home.
FFTP’s Prison Ministry Program started in 1998 to help nonviolent offenders in parts of the Caribbean and Latin America who could not afford to pay their fines to get out of prison. Thanks to generous supporters, the blessing continues.
During each Christmas and Easter Holy Week seasons, the program has aided in the release, training and reintegration of nonviolent prisoners into their communities as productive citizens.
“While we do not condone criminal behavior, in these cases, people were facing years in prison for petty crimes only because they could not afford to pay their jail fines,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said.
“We are committed to helping as many people as possible, including prisoners who are often forgotten or considered unworthy because of their past offenses. It is why the training and reintegration of nonviolent prisoners back into the community as productive citizens is so critical,” Raine added.
To support Food For The Poor’s Prison Ministry Program, checks payable to Food For The Poor can be mailed to 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. Please include reference number “SC# 74122” to ensure your donation is correctly routed or make an online donation at www.FoodForThePoor.org/prisoners.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.