SPECIAL REPORT: Belief Behind Bars - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SPECIAL REPORT: Belief Behind Bars

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Living with a mistake and trying to move forward; that's difficult to do for an inmate who sees the same walls of a jail cell every day.

KWWL was given special access into the Black Hawk County Jail to see how the inmates are turning their lives around, and finding a new hope in the process.

Bible Study is one of several programs offered at the Black Hawk County Jail. This particular program is an avenue by which the men and women in jail can work toward the next phase in their lives, and become better individuals.

For Kevin Reddout, jail has served as home for the past seven months following a probation violation.

"I've always believed in God, Jesus. That came from my mother and also my grandmother, my grandmother was always taking us children to the church."

Reddout's place of worship now, however, is far different than a church. He's been attending Bible Study in the jail library.

Since coming to jail, Reddout has read the Bible, cover to cover, four times. He said he's trying to become a better person while serving his time, and said he's also learning how to view himself as a person again.

"Self-worth. Because when you find yourself in jail, you think maybe people don't like me, maybe something is wrong with me. But that's not the case. We just, you know, people mess up."

The mess-ups which led the inmates to jail are still haunting for them. During the Bible Study, the men shared stories of addiction, drug dealing, and mistakes they long to forget. Many of the inmates cope by praying.

"I prayed for peace for my heart and in my mind, because when you're sitting in that cell, you become very lonely, very depressed, sometimes you feel like you're all alone," Reddout said.

Deacon Jeff Harris with the Catholic Church volunteers to help lead the Bible Studies at the jail. Harris said the feelings the men share end up teaching him.

"I may have walked into the jail thinking, I'm going to minister to these guys, I'm going to be a good deacon to them. And myself, and the other team members who help with the Bible Study, walk away and just say wow, that was something. We just feel as if we've been ministered too."

"We laugh together, we cry together. They show just profound wisdom," Harris said.

The wisdom Deacon Harris speaks of is found in people like Kevin Reddout. He said he wouldn't change anything that's happened in his life.

"This may sound a little different but I'm actually glad I came to jail and had this time to step away from what I was doing wrong and get back on track and do what is right."

Reddout will be released from jail the day after Thanksgiving. He calls his release a blessing. Reddout has employment arranged, and also plans to help take care of his parents, who currently live in eastern Iowa.

The idea of getting back on track is the goal for every inmate. The Black Hawk County Jail doesn't simply warehouse people. The jail tries to get the inmates prepared for when they're out of jail, and back into their community. Deputies and those who work in the jail say, it's a priority to make the inmates better people while they're there.

The jail offers other programs in addition to the Bible Study.

Those programs include:

  • Church Service: held every Sunday
  • 3:12 Transformation: faith-based program to influence positive life choices
  • Book Study: non faith-based program based on the book, Transforming Pain to Power, by Daniel Beaty. It encourages positive decisions and realizing an individual's potential
  • Celebrate Recovery: substance abuse recovery program
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
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