By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City’s Police Department has taken a proactive role in reducing recidivism rates through its Jail Division and Jail Ministry programs.
The voluntary programs include treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues and spiritual guidance for inmates at the municipal jail.
The police department received help from a community partner in their mission. Cox Communications recently donated $10,000 to the Midwest City Jail Ministry’s Aftercare Program. The effort provides clothing and support for people in jail or those leaving.
Christine Martin, Director of Communications for Cox Communications, said they learned about the program from Police Chief Brandon Clabes and were impressed by the positive impact it has had on people wishing to improve their lives.
“They do this on a volunteer basis with almost zero funding and they do it because they have a passion and a calling to help others,” Martin said. “We as a community need to step in and support them.”
Clabes thanked Martin and Cox Communications for their support. He said he spoke with people at the company in the past and again this year when Martin was named president of the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce.
“This wouldn’t have happened without Christine,” Clabes said. “I asked her about it and they brought their staff out and they were happy to help.”
The aftercare program is available to all inmates at the Midwest City Jail. All inmates are given a questionnaire if they’re interested in the voluntary program.
The program offers assistance in finding temporary housing, substance abuse treatment and transportation, as well as spiritual guidance. Bibles and other books are available.
“When someone is released from jail, they may not have things they need to get a job, and the aftercare program is a way to help them make that transition,” said Claudia Deakins, communications director for Midwest City. “They can get help with clothes for a job, a bus pass or other basic necessities.”
Chaplain Susan Nider said about half of the inmates in the jail participate in the aftercare program. She said the program has played a key role in helping people transform their lives, including a man that she met in the jail over the holidays. Nider said the man had been arrested several times before and was in jail for a few weeks. After getting out of jail, the man joined Nider and others for a breakfast on Christmas Eve at a local church.
In April, Nider and her husband ran into the man while they were doing yardwork outside their house in Midwest City.
“The man was living in a sober living facility, he had put on some weight and he looked good,” Nider said.
The man helped them with yardwork and expressed his gratitude towards Nider and the jail program.
“He was so thankful and gracious and said it was all because of the program at the jail,” Nider said. “We tried to give him some money but he turned it down.”
Nider said the donation from Cox Communications will be used to buy items for the program. She said they welcome support from the community. Due to space restrictions in the office, she said they prefer items such as new t-shirts, socks, and men’s and women’s underwear, and monetary donations.
“Socks, underwear and t-shirts are the most needed items,” Nider said.
For more information about the jail ministry or to donate, call (405) 739-1360.