My husband was a Navy Chaplain, deployed many months when my children were little. He missed birthdays, concerts, plays, and emergency room visits. He felt the pain of missing these milestones and worried about not being involved in our children's lives. I felt the pain of having to do all those things alone. We both counted down the days to each homecoming, but what a lot of people do not realize is that the homecoming can also be difficult. It is hard to get used to living together again. Disagreements come up over schedules and child-rearing. To be honest, I did not want to be questioned or second-guessed after doing this by myself for so long; but my not wanting to be questioned could make him feel like he had no place in the family. These are common problems among military service-members. You feel guilt because you should be so happy to be together again, to be home and to have your spouse home, but sometimes new problems begin to surface.
For these reasons, I can relate to Jonathan, the subject of the documentary series I am reviewing for Prison Fellowship, and his wife. And yet, there are also differences. When my husband came home from deployments, he was honored and thanked for his service. When he retired, he had a good resume and good training to use while looking for a job. Jonathan does not have these advantages. You see, his resume is a 15-year prison record.
When Jonathan was 18 years old, he made a life-changing mistake. He went to prison with a 25-year sentence. Should he have walked away on that fateful night? Yes. Was he guilty and deserving of prison? Probably. Those years in prison, however, give you a lot of time to think over your life choices. Some people will continue down the wrong path. Others will decide to make changes.
Jonathan got involved in Prison Fellowship's Academy program, and he decided to make changes. Recognizing that his wife and daughter love him in spite of his bad decisions and not because of anything he has done, he wants to be a good husband and father. He wants to beat the odds of recidivism, or the likelihood of returning to prison. He wants to turn his life and the life of his family around.
After serving 15 years, Jonathan is about to be released on parole. He has missed milestones in his daughter's life while his wife has been a single parent, for all practical purposes. He has missed experiences with his wife. He is now 33 years old, and he has not managed a household or held down a job. He and his wife will have to learn to live together again. He will have to face the challenges of being a husband and father. He will have to find a job with a prison record behind him. And he will do all of this with much of society expecting him to fail and to return to prison.
Prison Fellowship has produced The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk, a 5-part documentary film series following Jonathan and his family as he tries to re-enter society. For this review, I watched the first episode, and I am hooked. The characters are transparent, and I instantly feel like I know them. The videography is well-done. Most of all, I feel invested in Jonathan's story. I want to see him succeed and to interact with his family and society again.
America needs to see communities restored. We need to see stories like Jonathan's have happy endings. Prison Fellowship's Academy program is working towards those goals.
Join me in watching this documentary series.
You can sign up and watch the rest of the series from this link:
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.