Bishop T.D. Jakes receives high praise for greatly reducing recidivism rates through his T.O.R.I. program
Article By Rebecca Johnson // EEW Magazine Reporter
Federal rates of recidivism—the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend—are high. But Dallas mega church pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes, has found a formula to reduce those rates drastically through his Texas Offender Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.).
To compare, on the federal level, 77 percent of offenders go back to jail within five years according to U.S. Senator, Tim Scott, while only 11 percent of T.O.R.I. graduates reoffend.
“More than three out of four people who get out come back in, in just five years,” explained the African-American politician Sunday at Jakes’ The Potter’s House during its live-streamed “Second Chance Sunday” service.
“But T.O.R.I., it tells a different story,” he said. “T.O.R.I.’s number is 11 percent. Not 30, not 40, not 50, but 11 percent. That’s unheard of.”
While Bishop Jakes is working to keep ex-convicts out of jail, he is also focusing his effort on helping them land and maintain employment opportunities.
“According to research, more than one out of four formerly incarcerated ex-offenders are unemployed,” wrote Jakes on Instagram. “Often, their criminal past hinders them from being considered as a suitable job candidate. I founded the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.) to provide adequate tools for our brothers and sisters to successfully compete in society.”
Launched in 2005 by the 61-year-old charismatic preacher, best-selling author, and movie executive, T.O.R.I. has helped more than 20,000 ex-convicts get reintegrated into society—and according to Sen. Scott, who praised Jakes’ work, this program has eclipsed government efforts nationwide, and is “the envy of other states.”
“This is a national model,” the politician said as the proud 2019 T.O.R.I. graduates listened in the audience. Scott also took occasion to plug the benefits of the First Step Act, a law signed by President Donald Trump to expand initiatives to further reduce recidivism.
“If we can do this everywhere, young people who come home, they don’t reoffend. If they don’t reoffend, they’re not committing crimes. If they’re not committing crimes, the community’s safer,” Scott said. “This is a blessing. Thank you, Bishop.”
In a previous interview, Tina Naidoo, T.O.R.I.’s executive director said, “By getting people back on their feet and self-sufficient, bringing families back together, offering hope, those are the key elements that keep people from going back.”
Scott told graduates failure is not final, and encouraged them through the word of God, saying, “John 10:10 says there’s a thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy, but there is more to that verse…Christ has come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”