Scottie’s introduction to the criminal justice system came at a young age.
“I was born to parents who were involved in drugs and alcohol and were abusive towards one another and me and my siblings,” he said. “Because of their lifestyle, my mother was incarcerated while I was young, and my father was deemed to be an unfit parent.”
Scottie’s grandmother adopted him and his siblings. Under her care, they had a vastly different experience.
“My grandmother raised us in a home that was filled with love, compassion, and mercy,” he said. “She made sure we were up early on Sunday morning to go to church, and you best believe she better not hear us complain—she was taking us to evening service as well!”
Children with incarcerated parents face many disadvantages and challenges in their formative years, including an increased likelihood of becoming involved with the criminal justice system themselves. Despite his grandmother’s encouragement to follow Jesus, Scottie ended up following in his parents’ footsteps instead.
“I sadly chose the world and what it had to offer,” Scottie said. “I used drugs and alcohol, and I became violent and hurt others, and because of those decisions, it led me to multiple incarcerations.”
His choices also led to family separation. His first wife divorced him, and he has never met his twenty-year-old daughter.
Years later, he met his current wife through pen-pal correspondence while they were both incarcerated.
“She got released from prison on my birthday,” Scottie said. “I met my wife face-to-face on our wedding day in the prison I was in!”
Scottie’s life seemed to be headed in a positive direction when he was released on parole in 2021. But the pull of alcohol and drugs was too strong to resist.
“I made a decision to do something that shattered all trust my wife had in me . . . [and] violated my parole,” he said. “My wife went to my parole officer and told her she didn’t want me there anymore.”
Back in a jail cell, feeling defeated by his choices and his wife’s request for a divorce, Scottie knew he needed to find his way back to God.
“I started reading my Bible and praying,” he said. “I rededicated my life to the Lord on January 15, 2022, and started the path in the right direction!”
As Scottie continued to seek the Lord and turn his life around, his wife took notice. God restored their relationship, and Scottie led his wife to follow Jesus as well. Through faith-based apps available on the tablets in Scottie’s prison, he and his wife watch sermons together despite their physical distance.
To further grow in his faith, he signed up for Bible college and the Crossroads mentorship program.
“[Crossroads] is helping me to grow spiritually because it’s helping me to see myself as God sees me,” Scottie said. “I often thought He was mad at me because I messed up, but He’s not; He’s pleased that I am pursuing an intimate relationship with Him [and] seeking Him rather than my former way of life.”
Crossroads has made such an impact on Scottie that he eagerly spreads the word about the program and shares the good news of God’s love.
“Thank you so much, Crossroads, for providing a Bible correspondence course that helps people grow in their faith and stay grounded in [their] beliefs,” Scottie said. “Because of the encouraging remarks and the thoughtful prayers that the staff has for us, you have encouraged me to step up and step out in sharing the Gospel and what I’m learning! The small application card is a great evangelical tool for us here! Because of that, I have had the privilege of sharing the Gospel, and I got to introduce three people to Crossroads. I pray they stick with it.”
After a lifetime of dealing with family dysfunction and numbing himself with drugs and alcohol, Scottie is grateful to have found his place and purpose in the family of God.
“I have often seen myself as being unimportant, but God has shattered my expectations because I am important! I know this because He has a purpose for my life!” he said. “The life I thought was a failure, the life I thought was messed up . . . yeah, He has a purpose with! And I’m seeing that purpose as I witness to my family and the men on the yard here at the prison.”
Would you like to help incarcerated men and women find a greater purpose behind bars? Many Crossroads mentors also discover newfound purpose as God works through them to guide and encourage people in prison. Please consider signing up to become a mentor.
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