“One of the Best Months of My Life”

Posted on by COYFC

By Steve Telfer, JJM Chaplain
 
“Scott” shared during our individual meeting that serving time in detention has been “one of the best months of my life.” I certainly have not heard that reflection before from a resident to that degree of openness and honesty -- expressing appreciation for being sentenced by the juvenile court to short-term lock-up. Obviously, I had to ask him why he believed this has been his experience. His answers were extraordinary.
 
First and foremost, Scott’s time in detention slowed him down and gave him plenty of time to think about his life situation and circumstances. I always emphasize to the residents that the opportunity to spend time reflecting on where they are in life, even at this young age, is often the greatest benefit and positive aspect of any length of stay in detention.
 
Secondly, he shared that he has re-engaged with key members of his family. Their relationships have begun to heal. As they’ve spent time talking on the phone and during visitation periods they’ve been able to re-connect in healthy ways.
 
Thirdly, Scott has developed a new level of empathy. He is realizing that his decisions and actions not only impact him but others as well, especially when these choices are deviant and criminal. It’s so important for incarcerated teens to understand that their actions affect others. This reality is critical for significant and meaningful change and rehabilitation to occur in their lives -- and not to continue down the path of negativity and destruction.
 
Finally, and most importantly, Scott expressed that within the past month he responded to the invitation of the gospel message and found salvation in Christ. He received the forgiveness of his sins, the gift of eternal life and a renewed relationship with the true and living God.
 
No wonder that became one of the best months of Scott’s young life!
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