Johnny was released in January of 2023 after serving 26 years in Florida State Prison. He was introduced to our program approximately 7 months prior to his release. As you can imagine, it was quite a culture shock for him to be back in society. Johnny said “When Paul first came into the institution with the Penitent Thief program, I had no idea what to expect. I was intrigued, though, because this program was unlike anything I had experienced. I think the biggest difference was this was an organization led by a man who had been in my shoes. They were not just here to tell me what to do when I got. They were going to show me.”
One thing we loved from the beginning about Johnny was that he took full responsibility for the actions that led to his incarceration. A person must always admit there’s a problem before they can start working on it. Johnny’s said: “I can’t change the past and the mistakes I made. But I know that I have a God that forgives me, and what is important now is how I conduct my life going forward. Part of me felt that it was going to be me against the world when I got out but praise God that has not been the case. It’s truly a blessing to be part of the Penitent Thief program and my support community they have helped me develop.”
Since Johnny’s release he has completed the Operation New Hope program, The Jobs Partnership program, become certified as a forklift operator, purchased a car, has a full-time job, and is attending church regularly. Plus, he gives back without hesitation to those coming out of incarceration after him. It is amazing to witness what God is doing in his life, and we are blessed to have had a part in it.