Encouraging newsletters planned for jail inmates

Posting devotions on her Facebook page and being involved in a community prayer event at the jail inspired Liberty Mahoney to create an uplifting newsletter for inmates at the Jackson County Jail at Brownstown.

“About two years ago, a friend asked me to send her devotionals every day to study, but I didn’t know what to send her,” Mahoney said. “I just started writing one and would send her one every day, and she was very encouraged, and I was very encouraged, too, but didn’t think I would be.”

Mahoney thought maybe other people might enjoy reading the devotions, as well, so she started posting them on Facebook.

“I really enjoy doing that, and now, I would like to write a devotional-based newsletter for the inmates that include some scriptures and some positive stories of things going on in the community, something to help them stay connected to the community and to encourage them,” she said.

Mahoney, the daughter of Shawn and Dawn Mahoney of Seymour, said she just really wants to share the love of Christ with the inmates.

The 20-year-old Seymour woman went straight into college a week after she graduated from Seymour High School in 2020.

She entered Ivy Tech Community College’s Associate Accelerated Program, which helps high school graduates earn an associate degree in just 11 months.

“I got my degree there in business administration, and now, I’m currently attending Elim Bible Institute and College, which is a tiny Bible school in New York,” she said. “I am taking their online courses for a degree in biblical studies and theology.”

On weekends, Mahoney is in charge of the tech team at Cornerstone Community Church in Seymour and has had the opportunity to help with the boys varsity football and basketball home games by broadcasting games at Seymour High School.

“Currently, I’m just doing anything and everything to see where God is calling me into ministry because there are so many different aspects,” she said. “So I’m just testing the waters a little bit, serving in the church and I really enjoy to write.”

Even though Mahoney has no professional writing experience, she just really loves to do it.

“I mentioned the idea for a newsletter to Chris Everhart, jail commander at Jackson County Jail, and he really liked the idea,” she said. “Chris just had a couple of requests, like after they’re published not to use staples when putting the newsletters together, and then when they’re ready, the newsletters will all be brought directly to him to be distributed to the inmates.”

Mahoney also enjoys participating in Jackson County’s Residents Encounter Christ jail ministry. The mission of REC is to make Jesus Christ known to men and women who are incarcerated in prisons and jails in the state, according to newdayrec.org.

New Day Residents Encounter Christ is a three-day evangelistic event held in county jails. Over the course of the weekend, the focus is to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ with residents. This is done through talks, table discussions, times of worship, prayer and communion.

“I’ve really just fallen for that aspect of ministry and want to write to them and minister to them in that way, and I plan to get the newsletter started this year,” Mahoney said. “It would be cool to do one weekly, but after getting the first one published, we’ll see what happens and then go from there.”

She said the REC program has been going on for a while in Bartholomew, Brown and other surrounding counties.

“We were finally able to get it here in Jackson County at the jail in Brownstown a few years ago after asking Chris Everhart’s permission to hold the events there,” Mahoney said.

Everhart said the first program was in August 2019, and the second one was in February 2020.

“Each time, there were separate weekends for male and female inmates,” he said. “We’ve allowed Residents Encounter Christ to come to the jail a couple times a year and have a weekend-long program for the inmates.”

Everhart said Mahoney’s dad had participated in the REC ministry, too.

“I talked to Liberty’s dad about the newsletter and he mentioned that she had also thought about trying to put together a list of some services available to inmates getting out and back into the community,” he said. “He had mentioned that to me and some of the positive things that would go into it.”

Everhart said he would welcome Mahoney’s newsletter and thought it would really be uplifting for the inmates.

“God’s doing great things, so I think we need to magnify those positive things with all the negativity in the world,” he said.

Sheriff Rick Meyer is in favor of the newsletter, too.

“From the day I took office, our goal was to bring in more programs and resources to help the inmates be ready to succeed when they were released,” Meyer said. “Liberty Mahoney writing a newsletter for the inmates is another step in that direction.”

He said there are currently several programs at the jail already like Residents Encounter Christ, including Women Seeking Safety, Celebrate Recovery, Veteran’s Affairs Program and Getting Ahead While Getting Out.

“We also have a great relationship with Jackson County United Way,” Meyer said. “Adding Liberty’s newsletter as a resource for our inmates is a win-win.”

The next REC event coming up locally is for the female inmates and is scheduled for noon this Friday and running through 3 p.m. Sunday at the Jackson County Jail, 150 State Road 250, Brownstown. For information or to volunteer, visit newdayrec.org or the New Day Residents Encounter Christ page on Facebook.