White Collar Week with Jeff Grant, Prison & Reentry in the Age of COVID-19: An Evening with Our White Collar Support Group
Podcast Episode 01
White Collar Week with Jeff Grant: A Podcast Serving the White Collar Justice Community. Limited 10 Show Run: Summer 2020
It’s the Isolation that Destroys Us. The Solution is in Community.
Podcast Ep. 01: Prison & Reentry in the Age of COVID-19: An Evening with Our White Collar Support Group
This is a very special podcast episode — we have on 16 members of our online White Collar Support Group recently released from prison due to COVID-19, awaiting designation and preparing to report to prison during COVID-19, and others home longer. Our support group meets on Zoom on Monday nights, 7 pm Eastern, 4 pm Pacific. We have held over 200 weekly meetings and they get better each week as we come out of isolation and into a supportive community that truly cares about one another. We have welcomed over 200 support group members along the way!
But the support group meeting on this podcast is a little different than most, because everyone appearing has agreed to share their names, faces and very personal stories in an effort to reach out to individuals and families suffering in silence. We’ve never done anything like this before as a group, but we feel the cause is so important that it was worth the risk.
I know you will learn to love and respect every member you see or hear on this podcast as much as I do.
If you have a friend, family member, colleague or client with a white collar justice issue, please send them this page; they can reach us anytime — day or night! Our contact info is below.
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Guests on this Episode Include:
Jacqueline Polverari, MBA, MSW was a Social Worker for over 10 years and a partner in a large Title Company for over 15 years. As an entrepreneur, Jacqueline had reached new limits of her career as an experienced professional with proven success in business and mentoring environments when a series of poor choices led her to a federal indictment and a sentence of almost a year in Danbury Federal Prison Camp for Women. After her release, Jacqueline entered a new phase of her life researching in depth about Mental Health, Crime and Criminal Justice while correlating it to reentry services. This clearly grew into her passion after she had faced the many challenges of reentry. It is clear to her that there is a lack of resources for reentry and there is a need for change. She is working and advocating to be part of a change to come by dedicating herself to help fix this broken criminal justice system. Jacqueline is currently an integral part in helping women prepare for entry and reentry of the Federal Prison System both psychologically and spiritually through mental health services and education of the system. She has founded Evolution Family Reentry Services and is currently building resources by establishing nurturing partnerships with professionals in the mental health fields as well as employers and career placement agencies to help women and their families who face career barriers as they re-enter into society. You can reach Jacqueline at: http://www.evolutionreentry.com/.
Jeffrey Abramowitz, J.D. is the Executive Director of Reentry Services for JEVS Human Services and Program Director of Looking Forward Philadelphia. Jeff was a 2018 Fellow for Justleadership USA, and has most recently served as the Director of Student Services & Workforce Development for Community Learning Center. Jeff was a trial lawyer in Philadelphia before poor choices in life and his professional career resulted in acceptance of responsibility and a five-year sentence in the federal prison system. Entering the criminal justice system allowed Jeff the opportunity to see the world with a new pair of glasses and find his passion for education and workforce development. In the short 4.5 years since Jeff has been home he has worked with over 4,000 individuals, spoken and lectured across the country to educators, administrators, communities, and those touched by our criminal justice system. Jeff proudly sits on the Executive Board of the Coalition on Basic Adult Education, COABE, where he serves as the chair of the Literacy Behind and Beyond the Walls Committee, was appointed to the Pennsylvania Reentry Council and serves as Chairman of the Employment Committee and Co-chairs the Reentry Committee for the PA Workforce Development Board. Jeff is active in the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition. Jeff serves on the board of directors of Community Forgiveness & Restoration, a member of NationSwell Council, and Advisory Board Member of Philadelphia Petey Greene Program. Jeff is presently a LINCS Reviewer, Literacy Information & Communication System, Resource Collection, for the Department of Education, and serves on the National Association of State Directors of Education, Barbara Bush Foundation Criminal Justice Work Group. Jeff is the producer and host of the award-winning weekly radio show “Looking Forward” on Philly Cam Radio WPPM 106.5FM. Jeffrey is a writer, keynote speaker and lecturer around the country on issues of adult education, workforce development and criminal justice. Jeff can be reached at: email@example.com.
Joseph Grmovsek is the subject of the educational-documentary film Collared and is the first and still ONLY person in Canadian history to serve a Federal sentence of imprisonment for insider trading. He is currently the Program Director for Restorative Justice Housing Ontario, a charity that finds safe homes for elderly ex-prisoners, as well as a public speaker on issues of restorative justice and white-collar crime prevention. He can be contacted through his website CollaredConsulting.com.
Craig Stanland is a Coach, a Reinvention Architect, the author of the soon to be published memoir, The Blank Canvas, and a highly sought after public speaker with a TEDx Talk titled, “How I Learned My Greatest Worth in Federal Prison.” His mission is to help people whose lives have fallen apart rebuild and reinvent themselves so they can start over and have the extraordinary life they’ve always wanted. Craig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find all episodes of our podcast “White Collar Week with Jeff Grant” on our website prisonist.org, our Facebook page, Podbean, YouTube (video), SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Podcast Ep. 00: White Collar Week with Jeff Grant: What is White Collar Week?
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Welcome to White Collar Week with Jeff Grant, a podcast serving the white collar justice community. It’s the isolation that destroys us. The solution is in community.
If you are interested in this podcast, then you are probably already a member of the white collar justice community — even if you don’t quite know it yet. Our community is certainly made up of people being prosecuted, or who have already been prosecuted, for white collar crimes. But it is also made up of the spouses, children and families of those prosecuted for white collar crimes — these are the first victims of white collar crime. And the community also consists of the other victims, both direct and indirect, and those in the wider white collar ecosystem like friends, colleagues, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement, academics, researchers. Investigators, mitigation experts, corrections officers, reentry professionals, mental health care professionals, drug and alcohol counselors, — and ministers, chaplains and advocates for criminal and social justice reform. The list goes on and on…
In this very eventful summer 2020, our mission is to introduce you to other members of the white collar justice community, to hear their very personal stories, and hopefully gain a broader perspective of what this is really all about. Maybe this will inspire some deeper thoughts and introspection? Maybe it will inspire some empathy and compassion for people you might otherwise resent or dismiss? And maybe it will help lift us all out of our own isolation and into community, so we can learn to live again in the sunshine of the spirit.
Along the way, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve learned in my own journey from successful lawyer, to prescription opioid addict, white collar crime, suicide attempt, disbarment, destruction of my marriage, and the almost 14 months I served in a Federal prison. And also my recovery, love story I share with my wife Lynn Springer, after prison earning a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC, pastoring in an inner city church in Bridgeport CT, and then co-founding with Lynn in Greenwich CT, Progressive Prison Ministries, the world’s first ministry serving the white collar justice community. It’s been quite a ride, but I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.
So I invite you to come along with me as we experience something new, and bold, and different this summer — a podcast that serves the entire white collar justice community. I hope you will join me.
Rev. Jeff Grant, J.D., M.Div. (he, him, his)
Co-founder, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., Greenwich CT & Nationwide
Host, White Collar Week
Mailing: P.O. Box 1, Woodbury, CT 06798
Donations (501c3): http://bit.ly/donate35T9kMZ
Thank you for listening to White Collar Week.
Please subscribe, rate and review the podcast if you loved it — it helps others suffering in silence find us if they need us!
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Host: Jeff Grant, J.D., M.Div.
Audio Engineering: George Antonios: https://georgeantonios.com
Video Engineering: Todd Nixon
Art Direction: Greyskye Marketing, LLC: https://greyskye.com
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is the world’s first ministry supporting the white collar justice community. Founded by husband and wife, Jeff Grant and Lynn Springer in Greenwich CT in 2012, we incorporated as a nonprofit in Connecticut in 2014, and received 501(c)(3) status in 2015. Jeff has over three decades of experience in crisis management, business, law (former), reentry, recovery (clean & sober 17+ years), and executive and religious leadership. As Jeff was incarcerated for a white-collar crime he committed in 2001, he and Lynn have a first-hand perspective on the trials and tribulations that white-collar families have to endure as they navigate the criminal justice system and life beyond.
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is nonsectarian, serving those of all faiths, or no faith whatsoever. To date we have helped over three hundred fifty (350) individuals, and their families, to accept responsibility for their actions and to acknowledge the pain they have caused to others. In accordance with our commitment to restorative justice, we counsel our members to make amends as a first step in changing their lives and moving towards a new spiritual way of living centered on hope, care, compassion, tolerance, empathy and service to others. Our team has grown to over ten people, most with advanced degrees, all of whom are currently volunteering their time and resources.
Progressive Prison Ministries’ goal is to provide spiritual solutions and emotional support to those who are feeling alone, isolated, and hopeless. We have found that these individuals are suffering from a void but are stuck, and don’t know what to do about it. Our objective is to help them find a path to a healthy, spirit-filled place on the other side of what may seem like insurmountable problems. Many of those we counsel are in a place where their previous lives have come to an end due to their transgressions. In many cases their legal problems have led to divorce, estrangement from their children, families, friends and support communities, and loss of a career. The toll this takes on individuals and families is emotionally devastating. White-collar crimes are often precipitated by other issues in the offenders’ lives such as alcohol or drug abuse, and/or a physical or mental illness that lead to financial issues that overwhelms their ability to be present for themselves and their families and cause poor decision making. We recognize that life often presents us with such circumstances, sometimes which lead us to make mistakes in violation of the law.
All conversations and communications between our ordained ministry, and licensed clinical relationships, and those we serve fall under state privilege laws. This is one reason that attorneys often allow and encourage their clients to maintain relationships with us while in active prosecution or litigation situations.
If you, a friend, family member, colleague or client are suffering from a white collar criminal justice issue or are experiencing some other traumatic or life-altering event, and would like to find a path to a healthy, spirit-filled place on the other side of what seems like insurmountable problems, please contact us to schedule an initial call or appointment.
Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.