By Victoria Trull
ICT Prison Program Coordinator
While the ICT’s prison program has laid dormant during recent years, the need for the ICT’s presence within almost two dozen county, state, federal and private facilities located south of Phoenix has grown. There is an increasing number of our brethren behind bars that have limited to no access to other Muslims in the community, learning materials, or advocates.
When they are finally released, they are given a bus ticket, a prison ID and about $50 to start their new lives. The lack of proper identification and a criminal record make finding a job or room to rent exponentially more difficult. A typical brother or sister who is released from prison enters our community with no family support, no money, no job, no shelter and only the desire to change their lives and to learn how to better serve Allah (swt).
The ICT has renewed its commitment to these members of our community. We must ensure that they are not forgotten and assure them that regardless of their past, our community is here to welcome them. We are currently seeking volunteers who are willing to enter the prisons to lead services, to mentor them upon their release into the community and people willing to write letters. Ultimately, the ICT intends to put in place a re-entry program that will help our brothers and sisters get back on their feet and Insha Allah; prevent relapses. We seek volunteers from all backgrounds to help with the efforts.
During the first Prison Outreach Program volunteer orientation on June 4, Sheikh Watheq reminded us of the prophet Yusaf (saw), who was used by Allah (swt) to change the course of history for the people of Egypt while stuck in prison. We must always remember that a Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and we must support each other.
If you would like more information about the program and its future goals and/or if you would like to volunteer, please contact me at anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org