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|WHAT IS FIT Inc?
FIT Inc. is an abbreviation for the name of our 501.c.3 non-profit corporation, Family Integrity Training Inc.
ARE CONTRIBUTIONS TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Yes. The IRS has determined that we are tax exempt, tax deductible, and classified as a public charity.
WHO IS MOST INTERESTED IN OUR PROGRAM?
Most of our calls come from new ministries starting up or from existing ministries wanting to strengthen their program. Both are looking for the strongest educational program possible which deals with the issues facing the homeless and incarcerated. They are attracted to the practical, easy-to-use materials that combine life-skills education and faith. They like the friendly, small-group, non-preachy style that emphasizes listening and facilitating. Several have told us that we have done the homework for them concerning effectiveness of materials and strategies.
HOW DOES OUR MINISTRY DEAL WITH ADDICTIONS?
Nearly all sentencing is for drug-related activity (alcohol included). Our emphasis is on unmet needs causing the addictions, not on the addictions themselves. A strong faith and purpose is what is needed. For some, our teaching in basic life skills is new to them. The Florida guidelines emphasize independent thinking and problem solving, and all of our curriculum emphasizes that.
WHY IS OUR PROGRAM 100 HOURS (of lessons)?
This is one of the mandatory requirements of Florida law for early release from state prison. Our program is approved for this purpose. Judges often use this figure in sentencing, and one of our goals is to use our curriculum as an alternative option to jail or prison. We are serious about rehabilitation.
WHAT IS OUR SUCCESS RATE?
We are new ministry without a long track record yet, but some components of our program have been in operation for decades with success rates as high as any. Anyway, we track by case studies, not by group statistics. We count success by how far we bring a person forward, not by the number we come in contact with.
WITH SO MANY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE, WHY IS A NEW ONE NEEDED?
So many others are lecture-based, reading-based, or factual-based. Our program seeks to get into individuals hearts and minds fast by establishing trust in our 4, 7. 9, or 12 session units, encouraging them to most of the talking, hitting a few topics hard, and providing for leaders and group members with materials to stay focused. The sequencing in the units allows us to go deeper in a non-threating way.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A JAIL AND A PRISON?
In Florida, JAILS are run by counties to house offenders who have committed misdemeanors or to hold individuals until trial and/or sentencing. First degree misdemeanors are sentenced up to a year and second degree up to a few months. More serious crimes, or felonies, are for more than a year and are dealt with in state and federal PRISONS. There are about 80,000 inmates each in Florida jails and prisons. Slightly more Florida inmates reside in jail as opposed to prison. FIT addresses the needs of both - for the offender soon-to-be released all the way to the offender who will never be released.
IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN HOMELESSNESS, DRUG AND ALCOHOL REHAB CENTERS, AND INCARCERATION?
Professionals in this area are painfully aware of the connections. Many incarcerated are there specifically for drug offenses. Others are there for non-drug crimes related to their drug/alcohol problem. Incarceration and drug use both contribute to homelessness that draws in family members as well. It's a vicious cycle. Effective ministry must address all these aspects as well as the social, educational, and spiritual needs of the family.
WHY DO DETENTION CENTERS TRY TO LIMIT CONTACT WITH PRISONERS?
They are afraid of Collusion, or con artists taking advantage of religion or friendliness over time to get favors they could not get otherwise. Inmates band together and may try to get an innocent person to commit a crime. It is a very serious problem but the need to rehabilitate the prisoner must be balanced against the need to protect by forcing total isolation from the outside world. For an excellent account of how collusion takes place, read Games Criminal Play.
WHAT IS RECIDIVISM AND WHY IS THERE SUCH A HUGE FOCUS ON IT?
Recidivism is the rate at which convicts return to detention centers. In short, prisoners are released and re-offend. It is very costly to society and detention centers. The obvious cure is to rehabilitate prisoners so they won't come back. That takes effort and dedication and has been successful in numerous cases in programs like FIT. Institutions must balance their need to protect from collusion and to rehabilitate. FIT workers must gain the respect of the institutions and follow required procedures.
DOES FIT FAVOR ONE DENOMINATION OVER ANOTHER?
NO! We work with all denominations, including independents.
DOES FIT EXCLUDE OR COMPETE WITH EXISTING PRISON MINISTRY?
No. We are here to ultimately disciple prisoners into society and the Christian community. We hope to better equip current prison leaders.
WHAT MAKES FIT UNIQUE?
The focus is more on improving the prison leader's interaction skills than on the materials used. The emphasis is on longer-term and more intense interventions than is usually the case in course-based interactions in prison. Optimal operation is having both a facilitator and co-facilitator.
DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE A PRISON RECORD TO BE EFFECTIVE?
No. Most of our workers do not. Most prisoners are lonely people who are desperate for attention. Some have no visitors. A prison record may or may not exclude you from prison ministry. We have both in our ministry.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT BUSY PEOPLE TO COMMIT TO SUCH AN EXTENSIVE PROGRAM?
We are honest with them upfront about what is expected. Our program is structured for 5-12 week modules, meeting for two-hours once per week. It is understood that commitment is not "forever" and one can still manage in vacations and breaks to fit the individual schedule. Experience shows us that some will want to commit to once or twice a year, others will want to do it year-round. This flexibility has been one of the most effective tools for getting volunteers.
WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE INGREDIENT IN YOUR PROGRAM?
Confidentiality and safety. With church people or prisoners, the confidentiality of the small group has been the number one reason given for personal growth and benefit. For this reason, when the second session begins, no new people are allowed in until the 9-12 week course is done.
HOW I DO I GET STARTED? See our Order Page.
Get Training from our Staff.
If you have an existing prison ministry, take our training to find out how to become more effective through our focused program. See our Home Page for the next scheduled sessions or contact us if you have a group of 6 or more that you would us to work with at your location (within Florida). Outside of Florida we would need to have our travel expenses covered. The training fee is $25 and includes a training manual. If you are new but would like to start a ministry, come and bring a group from your local area to learn together. There are always staff and class members available to give you tips and help. Bring your pastor if possible. This is a team ministry and works the best when we work together.
Get a Starter Kit.
Order our materials and use them for reference or for training your own staff before implementing them. You can order any of the materials directly from us when you are ready. Pricing is kept as low as possible. We know we are dealing with volunteers and non-profits. Order Online.