CR Inside Newsletter

The blog for CR Inside. Much talk about all things CR Inside...

Principle 8 In Action!

By James D'Amato
CR Inside SW Team Lead

In December 2016, Valley Baptist Celebrate Recovery, in Partnership with Prison Fellowship Angel Tree, invited all of the families located in Kern County, CA that were receiving gifts from the Angel Tree program to a Christmas Celebration. This event started from a meeting with Janice Little, Prison Fellowship Area Director and James D’Amato, CR Inside SW Regional Team Lead and his wife Debbie D’Amato, who are both Ministry Leader’s for CR at Valley Baptist located in Bakersfield, California.

Prison Fellowship stated that they did not have enough church’s available to distribute all of the gifts in the Kern County area. So James contacted all of the area CR’s and organized an event on Valley Baptist’s regular CR night. We ended up getting seven local CR’s involved in helping out. We had over 80 families attend with over 225 total in attendance.

We held it on our regular CR night which helped us, not only to distribute the gifts, but to expose the families to what CR and CR Inside is and how it can help the families of the incarcerated. Each family got to see how CR and CR Inside works, which included exposure to Celebration Place and the Landing. It was a time for CR and the Church to show them the love of Christ, which some haven’t felt in a long time.

We ran it just like our regular CR with a Christmas Dinner fellowship time, worship time, CR Inside video, and the other tools that we use each week at CR. At the end of the night, we distributed the gifts provided by various churches in the area to all for the families in attendance. The kids got to see a Holiday movie, do some face-painting and received small gifts that were donated by local churches.

It was a blessing to see all of the CR’s attend and the volunteer’s help in every area of the event. But it did not stop there. There were about 50 families that could not attend and so the CR’s that joined to help took the gifts for the families that were in their area of their CR, and distributed the gifts to the families home where they prayed, ministered and invited the families to come to their local CR and Church.

It was an exciting and memorable evening that affected the hearts of all those in attendance and all of the volunteers. It was also an opportunity for CR, CR Inside, Prison Fellowship, and the Church to work together for one cause – it was looking at Principle 8 and Step 12 in action!

Mighty Message of Love

By Randal Greer
Louisiana CR Inside State Rep

Tallulah Purpose Driven Church

We were at Tallulah Women’s Prison for our Purpose Driven Church and I was speaking on Love, when all of a sudden a women stood up and interrupted me and said “Mr. Randal, this girl is mean. She is just mean. She steals my commissary and stuff off my bed, and beats up on every body. How am I supposed to love some body like that?” Well I lost it! Every train of thought left me and all I could think to say is, “Go back to her, don’t even look at her, and say Jesus loves you so do I”. She said, “Is that all?” and I said, “Yes”.

The very next week we were there again and this same lady, Melissa, came up to me with a BIG black eye and said, “This is your fault! She hit me. I told you she was mean!” Needless to say I told her to do the same thing and look at her this time and say, “Jesus loves you so do I“. With a little hesitation she said, “ok”, and walked off.

The following week we were there again, and Melissa come running up to me crying. One of her black eyes was healing, but now she had another one. “Oh my goodness”, I said, “not again?”. She said, “Yes, and I’m NOT going to tell her anything else!” I said, “Melissa you have to. Go back and look at her again and tell her, Jesus loves you so do I, but this time please duck”. With a lot of hesitation she said, “ok” and walked off.

Two weeks went by and we were back at Tallulah baptizing the ladies that had come to know Jesus. All of a sudden two sets of fingers began tapping me on my shoulder. Arm in arm, it was Melissa and this girl named Tonya. Tonya said, “Mr. Randal please, I want to be baptized. I’m not mean anymore. Jesus saved me!”.

What a Mighty message of Love. Arm in arm, I baptized these ladies into Jesus.

Tallulah Purpose Driven Church

Meet Our New CR Inside National Director

Pastor Danny Duchene

On Tuesday, September 20, 2016 the announcement was officially made that “Pastor Danny” Duchene, the recently named CR Inside Pastor at Saddleback Church, was named the National Director for CR Inside. This latest announcement is the culmination of many changes that have occurred over the last two years in the CR Inside National Team. God is on the move in mighty ways in the prisons and jails in our nation, and Pastor Danny is a great choice to lead CR Inside into the future.

At the age of 18, Danny Duchene sat in a California county jail cell, coming out of an intense withdrawal from a heavy addiction to alcohol and marijuana. He had been arrested for participating in a crime that resulted in the killing of two men, and now faced a double life sentence. Duchene first prayed for forgiveness behind bars. “At 19, I was still feeling the new Christian euphoria of being free—feeling like I had a new connection with God, that I was kind of focused on him,” Duchene said in an interview with The Local Church. “I was still young and naïve about the world ahead.”

Pastor Danny and wife Susan

After two decades of participating in prison ministries, with scopes ranging from drama to leadership, Duchene heard of the “40 Days of Purpose” curriculum, which walks participants through Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. In 2003, he contacted Warren, who not only provided the curriculum to Duchene, but also led a service at the state prison where Duchene’s study took place. That night, 100 men converted, and a church was born inside the prison’s walls.

But Warren didn’t just help Duchene with his ministry; he also wrote a letter to the prison’s parole board pleading for his release. In December 2014, that plea was granted. Duchene now oversees Saddleback’s inmate ministry, which has 900 programs currently running in more than 100 prisons nationwide and has distributed hundreds of thousands of books and study guides.

Please be sure to check out more information on Pastor Danny’s story on our CR Inside Team Page.

Celebrate Recovery Inside has come to Belize Prison!

By Elda Bankman

January of 2016, I made a transition back to Belize after being involved in CR Inside for 9 years in Ontario, Canada.  I was born and raised in Belize. One of the many things I had a passion for growing up, was when I passed the Belize prison I wished that once I grew up I could bring hope into the prison.

In order to be effective and to empower the inmates, I needed to go through a journey of healing from my own hurts, habits, and hang ups. I am so excited that God opened the door for me to take CR Inside to Belize Prison. These women are part of my family. One woman, especially was in the punishment cell more than not. I notice that she is present more when I come in. She said that she tries to stay out of trouble when I come because she wants to see me. She has no family and I am her only family. Psalm 68:6 "God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing." Amazing!

I have anywhere from 30 to 40 women. I do CR Inside both in Spanish and English.  The women are on lock down every day from 3pm to 9am. They have not seen the moon since their arrest. The CEO said that they fail the women because their restorative is being on lock down. So they are very open for me to bring in any programs. The women are sponges and want to take in everything which is so exciting and I feel honored to be a part in empowering and bringing hope to them. I love these women so much!

A prayer request that I would like to ask for, the discernment with spiritual welfare! The verse below has become more real to me.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV): For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

E.W.C.C. in Taft, OK Graduates Over 80 Women

On May 22 over 80 women at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, OK celebrated their recovery by graduating from their 12 Step Study groups held each Sunday at the facility. Volunteers from several churches around Eastern Oklahoma spent each Sunday afternoon from September, 2015 through May, 2016 traveling to the facility to take Celebrate Recovery Inside to the ladies, and providing them the tools to overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups through the 8 Principles and 12 Steps of Celebrate Recovery.

The worship band Blue Chip Friday from Celerate Recovery at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Tulsa, OK traveled to the facility on Sunday afternoon to lead the women graduating, volunteers, and guests in a time of woship to help them celebrate their accomplishment. During the graduation ceremony, a video from Christian recording artist Josh Wilson was played (click here to watch) to allow him to personally congratulate all of the ladies on their graduation, and then several members of the graduating class performed for those in attendance by signing to the Josh Wilson song ‘No More’ which was a huge hit and very special memory for everyone attending.


After the time of praise and worship, each participant graduating was presented with a certificate to mark their accomplishment, as well as a Celebrate Recovery Bible to help them continue in their quest for knowledge of God and His will for their lives. God was definitely smiling down on everyone in attendance and all who were there were blessed to be a part of such a memorable moment in these ladies lives!

The program at E.W.C.C. has been in existence for several years, with many volunteers sacrificing themselves each Sunday afternoon from early fall through late spring each year to bring the message of hope and healing of Celebrate Recovery to the Inside to help these ladies find a new life and freedom from their past. Many thanks go out to the volunteers who give of themselves selflessly each week year after year to provide this program at E.W.C.C. and to all of the volunteers at all of the facilities across the United States and around the world who give of themselves for our incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ.

To God be the Glory!

New CRI Program Coming To B-Facility

Below is a letter from Joe Stewart, Correctional Captain, B-Facility at California State Prison-Sacramento ( a Level IV Maximum Security facility) to his Lieutenants on his belief in the CR Inside program and it’s proven ability to change lives at SCC and Folsom State Prison in California, and his plan to add the CR Inside program to the faith based opportunities at California State Prison – Sacramento.

From: "Stewart, Joe@CDCR"
Date: April 8, 2016 at 10:06:30 AM PDT
Subject: New CRI Program Coming To B-Facility


Great Story in the OPEC newsletter today, (link below).

Definitely part of my motivation for the Celebrate Recovery Inside (CRI) Program, and it’s power to change lives.

This program has been operating at SCC and next door at FSP for several years now...

It has won numerous awards like the one below from the State Legislature in 2014 for its success in greatly reducing recidivism.

Currently FSP’s program has a 100% success rate with none of the released participants returning to custody...


After meeting a gentleman named Terry a few weeks ago, and hearing his story of serving 27 years in Ca. Prisons as a Life-Term Offender, Terry was incarcerated for a homicide he committed as a youth, and never thought he would ever be released. CRI changed his life at SCC and FSP and helped him begin motivating and encouraging other inmates to change their lives. After being released from FSP a few years ago, he is now a volunteer and mentor of the CRI program continuing to invest in other people.

I’m honored to announce that Capt. Riley and I are working with a local CRI program in El Dorado Co., along with Therese our CRM, to bring a CRI program to B-Facility.

Of course Terry will not be able to physically participate at this point, but Mike and Mavis Mante are the coordinators of the program and will be leading the weekly meetings.

I can only imagine there will be a similar story about Terry’s life and this CRI program at CSP-SAC to share in the newsletter someday.

This program will be held in the evenings (likely Mon. or Tue.) and more information regarding the specific times and locations will be forth coming.

This program has an evidence based approach to changing the environment of a correctional facility, giving inmates an alternate perspective to violence.

Most of our Life-Term offenders have to participate in a Substance Abuse Program (SAP), like this in order to be considered for release during their BPT hearings.

I know many people believe this type of impact and success cannot be achieved at a Level IV, Maximum Security Prison, but we disagree with that theory...

I know you and your staff will all provide the CRI Volunteers with all of the support they need to facilitate these weekly meetings.

Have a great weekend everyone...

Joe Stewart

Correctional Captain, B-Facility 

California State Prison-Sacramento