Ask New Jersey's former governor Jim McGreevy what he's been doing since he came out of the closet and resigned from office following an affair with one of his male staffers and he just might say, "Hanging out at the Hudson County Correctional Center."
McGreevey, 54, has become a spiritual counselor, working with 40 female inmates at one of New Jersey's largest jails. The women, who are incarcerated for crimes ranging from dealing drugs to gun possession to manslaughter, are taking part in a pilot program aimed at reducing repeat convictions by addressing issues such as drug dependence, employment difficulties, housing problems, and a lack of psychological counseling.
According to the Associated Press, nearly all the women all have addiction problems and pasts marred by sexual violence.
"Prison ministry is something that spoke very deeply to me -- allowing women and men to reclaim their lives, to go beyond our personal circumstances," says McGreevey, who began jailhouse mentoring after attending an Episcopal seminary in 2007.
David Kerr, founder and president of Integrity House, a provider of substance abuse treatment that helps run the program, says the program's early success is a testament to McGreevey's efforts.
"We've always been working with inmates in prisons, but not so much in jails. This is pretty unique, and Jim pretty much is the creator of the idea," Kerr says.
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