Featured in the Opportunity Lives documentary “Comeback,” Dallas-area pastor Omar Jahwar preaches transformation to newly-released prisoners.
Omar works in areas with the “roughest zip codes,” recruiting men in the area to challenge normalized violence and find redemption. The “Comeback” series works with Jahwar, the first gang-interventionist in the state of Texas, to answer the question: “How do we make these communities come back?”
“Transformation is not a cookie-cutter process,” Jahwar told Bold TV today. “It’s individualized. You have to be very intrusive.”
During this segment, Bold TV anchor Clay Aiken asked Omar what the new presidential administration could do for criminal justice reform.
“They need to watch Bold TV,” Omar said with a chuckle. Omar continued on to say that what the administration really needs to do is to partner with urban specialists — people who are able to get permission and work with gang leaders in troubled communities — and know that the best advice doesn’t always come from people who are qualified through degrees, but through experience.
Above all, Omar said the biggest problem facing newly-released prisoners is reacclimating to their communities, their jobs, finances and family life. This is a process Omar said he wants to walk through with them to help them move beyond the “hopelessness” after the initial high of freedom.
Along with this challenge, Omar discussed the challenge of transforming the mindset of society to accept those being rehabilitated after prison.
“Society says, can we just put them away and we won’t have to deal with them?” Omar said. “We have to say to everyone…all of us are going to be affected.”
Business executive and Republican activist John Burnett added that government leaders need to move away from dealing with these issues on a piecemeal basis. Instead, they should change their approach to criminal justice reform and address issues more “holistically to create an empowering environment.”
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