"Adopt a Prisoner" Program Debuts at Sussex County Church - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

"Adopt a Prisoner" Program Debuts at Sussex County Church

Posted:

BRIDGEVILLE, Del.- It is a program that came to life in Kent County, founded by a successful businessman-turned drug addict, who turned his life around. The Adopt a Prisoner program is now making its way into Sussex County. The goal is to help former inmates successfully transition back into society.

Some are skeptical, saying they don't think it is possible to change criminals. 

But to those skeptics, Victory Baptist Church in Bridgeville says denying that helping hand will only make the problem worse. As it is now, more than 70-percent of inmates in Delaware end up returning to jail.

Bill D'Andrea is slowly getting back on his feet, about three-and-a-half months after being released following jail time for DUI.

"When I got out, I really didn't have a place to stay or anything," he explained.

That is where the Adopt a Prisoner program came in, helping D'Andrea get housing at Dover Interfaith. The program is also providing him with a phone and other essentials, including guidance and support.

"They accepted me as I was, you know," said D'Andrea. "No judgment, things like that. And actually just gave me another chance at life."

A chance that some say those with a criminal past don't deserve.

"For a first time offender, perhaps," said Rachel Keefe of Bridgeville. "But after that, no."

It is that kind of attitude that Pastor Russ Kessler said he wants to help change. His own son is incarcerated in North Carolina -- one of many reasons he felt compelled to get involved in the program and embrace D'Andrea as the church's first adoptee.

"What do you do when someone has done something bad, made a mistake? You still love them, you don't throw them aside," Kessler said. "You try to help them do better. And that's our ministry, that's our drive is to help up."

"If everybody keeps doubting them, cutting them down, telling them they're never going to make it, you ain't got a chance, it gets in your head," added D'Andrea. "That's what you start thinking. And then you're right back in jail again." 

That is a cycle the Adopt a Prisoner program hopes to break.

D'Andrea said one of the biggest challenges after being released is finding employment. He has managed to start his own construction business, and says he tries to give jobs to other former inmates like him.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Delmar Man Gets 75 Years for Murder

    Delmar Man Gets 75 Years for Murder

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:07 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:07:17 GMT
    A Delmar man convicted of second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting that occurred last year was sentenced to 75 years in prison Thursday, according to the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office.More
    A Delmar man convicted of second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting that occurred last year was sentenced to 75 years in prison Thursday, according to the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office. More
  • Fire at Berlin Main Street Restaurant

    Fire at Berlin Main Street Restaurant

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:05:28 GMT
    BERLIN, Md. – The manager of Siculi Rustic Italian Restaurant said a small fire started in the kitchen of the restaurant, which is located on Main Street.More
    The manager of Siculi Rustic Italian Restaurant on Main Street in Berlin says a small fire started in the kitchen late Thursday morning.More
  • Fire Destroys Mid-Atlantic Family Practice in Lewes

    Fire Destroys Mid-Atlantic Family Practice in Lewes

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:34 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:34:48 GMT
    Fire broke out at the Mid-Atlantic Family Practice office on Route 24 in Lewes this afternoon. Heavy black smoke was seen billowing from the building.More
    Fire broke out at the Mid-Atlantic Family Practice office on Route 24 in Lewes this afternoon. Heavy black smoke was seen billowing from the building.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service