Indy Return Ministry helps men get back on their feet after incarceration

INDIANAPOLIS – New life development ministries on the west side of Indy help men get back on their feet when released from prison.

It is a mission for Reverend Eugene Potter that began several decades ago in Baltimore and for the past 14 years he has worked in his hometown of Indianapolis.

“Many times, it’s very difficult for a man who gets out of jail to get started. So, our goal is to train and hire,” Potter said.

New Life is a re-entry organization located between 28th and Clifton Street. Their goal is to connect people to resources and help them set goals. When funding is available, they also provide construction-related training.

“They have a skill set for life. This is important and we have hundreds of people we have helped, but we have to help thousands,” Potter said.

The ministry has an on-site construction training center that was set up just before the pandemic. It is now used through partnerships with organizations such as the Kheprw Institute and the Indianapolis Urban League.

After two recent trainings with Kheprw, Potter says every person has been offered a job.

“That’s 100%. Now they are men who have had criminal records with all kinds of problems, and any of them who wanted it, could get a job,” Potter said.

To help even more men, New Life needs further partnerships and funding. Potter’s long-term goal is to open a construction training school

“It will take a different level of money. It takes about $ 250,000 a year to make 50 students,” Potter said.

James Hardin arrived in New Life a year after being released from prison in 2012.

“I’ve always wanted to be a plumber,” Hardin said. “The Ministry of New Life Development has been a really great and powerful tool to lift me up to get me going in that direction.”

Hardin says the ministry helped him get his driver’s license, set goals, and most importantly, develop a mentality to be successful. Now he has his own plumbing business.

“This ministry is necessary, because they don’t despise any of my younger brothers out here, but they need somewhere to go,” Hardin said. “This here will be a better place to start than for them to be in someone’s prison.”