Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

CJAMM aims to break cycles of incarceration

9/6/2019

Dr. Jim (center left) and Jean (center) Key stand with Dr. Stan Basler (center right) as they accept the Stan Basler Award from CJAMM
Criminal Jusice and Mercy Ministries shared their vision for “Breaking the Generational Cycles of Incarceration” during its annual banquet on Aug. 27.

The evening featured dinner and a silent auction with a presentation by republican Rep. Kris Steele, who served as Oklahoma’s House Speaker from 2011-12. Steele shared about Oklahoma’s history of mass incarceration and encouraged support of the ministry.

Rep. Kris Steele shares the history behind Oklahoma’s high rate of incarceration. The republican served as the state’s House Speaker from 2011-12.

“I believe it may be CJAMM’s super power to always believe the best in others,” Steele said. “There’s no such thing as a spare Oklahoman, and we know our communities are at their best when everyone can contriute to the greater good.”

CJAMM Director Kristen Harlin thanked attendees for their contributions to the ministry and shared stories of how New Day Camp, Redemption Church and the Exodus House impacted those they served in a positive way.

One of those impacted was Amber Salazar, a 34-year-old mother currently residing at the Exodus House. Salazar’s mother had gone through the Exodus House program before her, a fact Salazar said gave her hope that life could be about more than survival.

Rev. Dr. Elaine Robinson (third from left) attends the CJAMM banquet with members of OKC-Village

Salazar was incarcerated twice as an adult. The first time she was released, she said she went back into the habits she knew. The second time, she was able to live at the Exodus House.

“I’m able to take my son to church and give my son life instead of teaching him to survive so we can make it,” she said. “I get to break that cycle, and I’m glad I have Exodus House to show me and help me do that. I never would have made it, but I’m doing it now.”

CJAMM founder Dr. Stan Basler presented the Stan Basler Award to Dr. and Mrs. Jim and Jean Key. The Keys played an instrumental role in bringing Kairos, a Christian renewal weekend, into Oklahoma prisons in the mid 1990s. They are also long-time volunteers at New Day Camp.

Rev. Bo Ireland, street outreach manager for Skyline Urban Ministry, applauds during a presentation at CJAMM’s Annual Benefit Dinner.

Upon receiving the award, Jim Key deflected the applause and said he was simply a tool for God’s work in the world.

“If a carpenter made you a beautiful table, you’d want to thank somebody, but would you thank the tools?” he said. “I’m just a hammer, and we thank God, the carpenter, for the work.”

To learn more about CJAMM or to get involved, visit www.cjamm.org.

 

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