The Jericho Project: Hope for People Entangled in the Criminal Justice System

Taken from  NAMI   which is located    HERE.

When a person’s been arrested fourteen times, most people probably assume that he or she is a hardened criminal.  Not necessarily so. For the Shelby County, Tenn., jail diversion program The Jericho Project, this is just an average client. The Jericho Project provides an alternative to jail for people with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse who have been arrested and charged with a crime. Many of their clients have cycled in and out of the justice system, homelessness, emergency rooms and other costly emergency services for years without ever getting the treatment and support they need for recovery.

Jericho changes that. Kim Dunlap, a former Jericho client, explains that she finally received the services she needed in the community, “Jericho put together a plan that worked for me. It was court-ordered, but it was for me and [it was] just what I needed.” Dunlap says that having the guidance of a case manager helped her, because she did not know the services available in the community, and she had tried repeatedly to treat her addition, “but I would not stay clean because I wasn’t addressing my mental disorder.”

Now Dunlap works as a Recovery Support Specialist, and her job is to work with Jericho clients to develop their own individualized plans to connect to community services. Plans can connect individuals with a variety of services and supports in the community, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, case management, housing, transportation and benefits. Jericho provides fours of intensive case management assist individuals in linking with this array of services. Dunlap says the plans work because she develops them collaboratively with clients. She says, “It’s their recovery, after all.”

When asked what makes the Jericho Project unique, Shelby County’s Chief Public Defender, Stephen Bush, says, “Unlike many other jail diversion programs, the defendant does not have to plead guilty in order to participate in the program.” Bush explains that the key is the public defender’s office, which manages the program. “The public defender’s job is to protect the individual’s rights, and there is no reason a person with mental illness should have to give up their Constitutional rights to access services.”

Bush explains that so many of their clients have multiple arrests because Jericho doesn’t exclude anyone from the program based on the charges against them. All referrals for the program are considered on a case-by-case basis, and negotiated between the public defender, prosecutor and judge. It’s this process that best protects the client’s interests, because the public defender is on hand to represent them.

For individuals who have cycled in and out jail, a program like Jericho can make all the difference. For Kim Dunlap it can’t be overstated: “The Jericho program saved my life.”

To learn more about Kim’s story and others involved in the Jericho Project, visit Voices of Jericho.

Learn more about the Jericho Project and the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office by visiting their blog, To learn more about the role of public defenders and how to work with one when you or a loved one are arrested, check out our Q&A with Shelby County Chief Public Defender Stephen Bush: Working with Public Defenders.



Boxer Ricky Hatton Talks About His Depression And Suicidal Thoughts

Taken from  the   Herald Sun   which is located    HERE.

ENGLISH boxer Ricky Hatton has revealed how close he came to suicide during his three-year break from the sport, as he prepares to relaunch his career with a fight next month.

The 34-year-old, who won world titles at both welterweight and light-welterweight, slipped into depression after a brutal second-round knockout by Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in his last fight in May 2009.

He has revealed that, during the worst bouts of the illness, his girlfriend had to take a knife from him to stop him hurting himself.

“I was near to a nervous breakdown; depression, suicidal,” he told BBC Radio Five Live today.

“Most mornings my girlfriend would have to come downstairs and take a knife out of my hand. I had a knife at my wrists, I was in a really bad way, just hysterically crying for no reason.

“I’ve always liked a little bit of a drink, but my drinking had gone way off the Richter scale. I was having black-outs.

“And even if I was stone-cold sober, I was trying to kill myself. The real lowest point was when my little girl came along, who is one-year-old now.

“(Hatton’s son) Campbell had the misfortune to see his dad in such a bad way. I am not going to do it anymore to my kids and I’m not going to put my family though it any more.”

Hatton will return to the ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine at the Manchester Evening News Arena on November 24.

A much-loved figure in Great Britain during the first part of his career, Hatton admitted his defeats at the hands of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather left him feeling like a “failure”.

“I feel sad because I feel ashamed of myself,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter how many people say, ‘Ricky, everyone has problems and you got beaten by Mayweather and Pacquiao, who are the two best fighters of our generation. You did the country proud.’

“That’s very kind of people to say, but they don’t have to deal with this little fella who sits on my shoulder every day telling me that I’m a failure and I’ve let my family and my fans down and British sport, British boxing, down.

“I feel a failure and it doesn’t matter how many people say, ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself.’ That’s how I feel and that’s how I’m coming back. I feel I’ve got to redeem myself.”

Prayer For Those Impacted By Hurricane Sandy

Whenever there is news of a massive event such as we are seeing unfold on the east coast many of us pray for those involved.  This prayer multiplies when we have loved ones who are in harms way.

My thoughts turn towards those who are suffering with mental illness.  An event like this has the potential to trigger setbacks and to cause many to suffer in unspeakable ways emotionally.  Please pray for those who suffer with anxiety.  Please pray for those with agoraphobia who are having to evacuate.  Leaving their home or place of emotional safety is a challenge under the best of circumstances let alone when those circumstances are totally out of their control.  Pray for those suffering from depression, PTSD, OCD, and any other mental illness that comes to mind.

Pray for thr first responders and those who will be entering these areas when it’s safe to lend support in whatever way it will be needed.

Finally and most importantly please pray for the physical safety of everyone that is being impacted.  Allan

Free Service Dogs for Disabled Veterans

Taken from  the North Carolina Times  which is located    HERE.

Since retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Peck arrived home from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2009 with lower back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, his life has not been easy, he said.

But thanks to a local charity, things are looking much brighter.

This week, Peck, 27, was given Cali, a 2-year-old golden retriever from 4 Paws 4 Patriots, a Menifee-based charity that matches injured veterans with service dogs.

“These two years, I’ve been in a very dark place,” Peck said. “Working with Cali, she calms me down, helps me out. She’s like my best friend, like my kid. Most importantly, she knows how to calm me down in those dark moments. Without Tim’s organization, I don’t know where I’d be today.”

Tim is Tim LeBlanc of Menifee, who formed the charity two years ago with fellow Menifee resident Greg Fletcher and John Banks of Temecula.

LeBlanc and Banks are military veterans and Fletcher said he has family members who served in the armed forces.

“These guys don’t get as much help as they should,” Fletcher said before Friday’s presentation at Sam’s Club in Murrieta. “We want to take the talents we have so we can give them a better life.”

LeBlanc has been training dogs since the 1970s and said statistics show that having a service animal helps wounded troops, especially those with PTSD.

“When I came back from the Army, I saw a lot of injured guys,” he said. “I saw a need for it and the tremendous benefits these dogs can do. It makes you feel good to have your dog around. It gives them someone who loves them unconditionally, no matter what.”

LeBlanc said that besides being companions, the dogs are trained in specific skills to help the injured veterans.

For instance, Cali can help distract Peck if she sees him getting upset and serves as a barrier to keep people from getting too close in public.

“It gives him that bubble of space,” LeBlanc said.

Peck said Cali even can retrieve his cane and hand it back to him if he drops it.

“She helps me to be comfortable out in public,” Peck said after the ceremony. “She’s that security blanket.”

And there’s another benefit.

“She wakes me up each morning with a kiss and a smile,” Peck said. “She’s part of my family now.”

Peck, who served more than eight years in the Marine Corps, said he tried to get a service animal from other groups, to no avail, before learning about 4 Paws 4 Patriots.

“I came across Tim and their organization, and within a month’s time frame, they found me a dog and started training her,” he said.

Once based at Camp Pendleton, Peck plans to take Cali with him when he returns to his native Salmon, Idaho.

Cali, like many of the dogs in the program, was rescued from a shelter, LeBlanc said.

Selected dogs are entered into a training program to perform specialized tasks to fulfill the recipient’s needs and the recipients also receive training.

The training takes from six months to two years and expenses can range from $5,000 to $20,000, LeBlanc said.

Some recipients also receive monthly shipments of dog food and necessary grooming services.

LeBlanc also is developing a program to teach veterans to train dogs for others, and he said there are two veterans in training now.

The charity survives primarily on donations, like the $500 that Sam’s Club gave Friday.

LeBlanc said they try not to turn away anybody seeking a service dog.

“It doesn’t matter what disability it is; if they need help, we’ll help them,” he told the dozen people who gathered for the ceremony. “These guys deserve everything I can do to help them — everything anyone can do to help them.”

For information, visit

Go Forward: Streams In The Desert, October 27th, 2012



“As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests…shall rest in the waters…the waters shall be cut off” (Joshua 3:13).

The people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened. If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off. We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.
If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles. –Evening Thoughts
What a lesson Columbus gave to the world of perseverance in the face of tremendous difficulties!
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!'”
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”
The stout Mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:
“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck
And peered through darkness. Ah! that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck–
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”
–Joaquin Miller
Faith that goes forward triumphs.

Praise & Worship: October 26th, 2012

Song List

1.  Hallelujah-  Three Talented Girls

2.  Shout To The North –  Robin Mark

3.  Long Road To Forgiveness-  Melissa Greene

4.  All You’ll Ever Need-  Andrew Peterson

5.  Grace Flows Down-  Christy Nockels

6.  We Shall See The King-  Glenn Kaiser

7.  Hallelujah-  Krystal Meyers

8.  Who Am I-  Casting Crowns

9.  When I Look At The Blood-  Godfrey Birtill

10.  Praise The Lord-  Kristene Mueller

11.  Above All-  Michael W. Smith



Dave Burchett: The Lure Of Revenge


Taken from  Confessions Of A Bad Christian   which is located   HERE.

Over and over and over I hear stories of pain inflicted by well meaning or too often not well meaning churchgoers. And I get really angry. REALLY ANGRY. All caps angry is rare for me. My first response is usually sinful. But I am not unique. A couple of guys who were really close to Jesus had the same sinful response to bad behavior.

He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” (Luke 9, NLT)

My response? You betcha! The response of Jesus?

But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village. As much as my heart cries out for vindication and revenge Jesus says no. You go on to the next village. You trust God. You forgive. This journey is hard because my sense of justice says that they deserve fire from heaven. But it gets even tougher. Jesus says to forgive my enemies. Even those dressed as sheep while acting like wolves.

The iPod shuffle landed on a song by Melissa Greene today and the lyrics reminded me of how tough this forgiveness clause in our Christian contract can be to execute.

The song is “The Long Road to Forgiveness”. The lyrics are written from a woman’s point of view but the pronoun is irrelevant. This is a gender neutral issue.

She’s pointed fingers and stood her ground and built a wall around her heart She didn’t want to lose a battle in a war she not start She carried grudges long enough but they’ve only weighed her down but the bridges burned are just lessons learned that she carries with her now

That little lyric bridge pretty much outlines every reaction of our flesh to being hurt. Step one is to blame someone else. Step two is to vow not to back down and give in because, after all, you were wronged. Step three is going into hiddenness and despair. Step four is being too proud to lose the battle. Step five is hanging onto the grudge even as the weight of that grudge crushes your spirit.

That is an ugly little sequence but it is a pattern I have repeated far too many times in my journey. I have heard it said that bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. I imagine the heart of Jesus being broken by our stubborn refusal to consider His forgiveness extended to us and consequently refusing to lean on His power to help us forgive. This passage in Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossae powerfully makes the point.

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossian 3, NLT)

I don’t see a lot of wiggle room in that text. If I claim that Christ is all that matters and that He lives in me then I must forgive those who offend me. Can someone find a loophole here? Please?

The chorus of Melissa Greene’s song reminds me how hard this road can be.

Down the long road to forgiveness there is fear at every turn And she knows she needs to go the distance Where her heart can finally rest, break these chains of bitterness God will heal her brokenness Down the long road to forgiveness

There is fear on that road if you take your eyes off of Christ. Your heart cries out in protest. What if they reject, scoff or take advantage of my forgiveness? Jesus reminds us gently that He understands.

When you break those chains and allow God to heal your heart the weight of the world will lift off of your soul. It is a long road to forgiveness. Sadly it is too often the road less taken. But it is the road that will make a difference in your journey with Jesus. I pray you will have the courage to start down that road today. I am praying this prayer as I feel the pain of another brother and sister wounded by others. Jesus will meet me (and them) there.