Correctional Ministries and
Chaplains Association

Leadership

Executive Committee

 


Ilinda Jackson, CMCA President and Co-Chair

Ilinda_Jackson     Education:
  • B.A., Biblical Studies
  • B.S., Organizational Leadership
  • M.A., Applied Behavior Studies
  • Under supervision as a LPC and LADC


Ilinda Jackson is pastor of the Secret Place Community Church, a church with a heart for the surrounding community, including hurting women and their children. She is dedicated to taking a message to the community; that it will take not only the participation of individuals, but also that of the business owners, churches, and foundations to bring community wholeness. She is the founder and CEO of Raising the Standard Ministries, Inc., located in Oklahoma City, OK, a unique and innovative ministry that has apprehended the true essence of “transitional living” with five life-changing houses. RTSM, Inc. offers faith-based transitional services for women and their children. Her passion is to address the spiritual condition of individuals and to develop and mature the body of Christ as she believes that true and lasting transformation must come through the building of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Healer and Redeemer! As she reaches out with unconditional love and acceptance, she endeavors to facilitate heart change through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ as well as assist with realistic and essential needs such as housing, food, clothing, employment, substance abuse treatment and education.

She has served as the Chaplain in a tri-level female prison to include maximum security and death row where she also served as the Coordinator of the Faith and Character Community Program; one of the first of its kind for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. She currently is the coordinator of the Victim Services Unit for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, providing help and support to the citizens of Oklahoma who have been impacted by crime as well as providing restorative justice measures for offenders to take responsibility for crimes they have committed.
 

Karen Swanson, CMCA Co-Chair

 
   Education:
 



Karen has been the Director of the Institute for Prison Ministries (IPM), Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College since 2005.  As Director, she oversees the Charles W. Colson scholarship program and pursues the goals of the Institute for Prison Ministries through networks, collaboration and strategic partners. She has more than 25 years of higher education experience and developed and taught Correctional Ministry courses at Wheaton College, now offered through Christian University GlobalNet.  

Karen has experience in teaching the incarcerated, leading a reentry ministry, and mentoring formerly incarcerated persons.  Currently, Karen provides the volunteer training for Cook County Jail religious volunteers.  She has presented at multiple conferences such as the American Jail Association, Correctional Ministries and Chaplains Association, Christian Association for Prisoner Aftercare, and Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders.
Karen has co-authored with Lennie Spitale, Released.

Karen lives in West Chicago, IL with her dog Luther (who she has co-custody with a friend) and part time with her unofficial adopted grandsons Cameron and Caleb.
 

Jerry Blassingame, CMCA Vice President

    Education:
  • Course work at Greenville Technical College
  • School of Correctional Ministries


Jerry Blassingame is the Executive Director of Soteria Community Development Corporation and Senior Pastor of Soteria Christian Fellowship. He endeavors to empower individuals and the community through education, affordable housing, financial literacy, community and economic development, and entrepreneurship. His passion is assisting individuals who have been incarcerated through reentry and helping them to become productive citizens.

Jerry attended Columbia International University and studied architectural engineering at Greenville Technical College. Jerry received a 20 year prison sentence in 1995 and only served 3 ½ years after being paroled in 1999. He is also a social Entrepreneur who believes in social enterprise for the non- profit sector. Jerry has continued to fight for change in legislation since he was granted a pardon in 2004. One of his greatest accomplishments was to receive the Charles W. Colson Scholarship from IPM through Wheaton College in 2014.

Jerry currently resides in Greenville South Carolina wiht his wife, Stephanie of 17 years and 3 of their 6 children. He's an active part of the community and serves on several boards including the PTA of his son's middle school.
 

Nick Robbins, CMCA Treasurer

 
 
    Education:
  • Nick is a recipient of the Charles Colson Scholarship from Wheaton College in 2012, completing the School for Correctional Ministries Reentry Leadership Credential Program.


Nick Robbins is Executive Director at Returning Home. Returning Home’s mission is to repair lives and restore families of Northwest Arkansas citizens who are incarcerated or who have been released.

In March of 2000, at the age of seventeen years old, Nick was incarcerated for armed robbery in Iowa. Upon release in August of 2007 Nick was hired by Shelterwood as a Residential Care Staff working with troubled teens. He participated in a 2008 Prison Fellowship internship in Missouri and after his completion was hired by Prison Fellowship as a Reentry Assistant in the IFI program and contracted with the Missouri Department of Corrections. In 2009 Nick went to work as Reentry Specialist in Arkansas with Prison Fellowship, that program transitioning into Pathway to Freedom in 2011. Nick accepted the position of Executive Director of Returning Home in 2016.

Nick is a recipient of the Charles Colson Scholarship from Wheaton College in 2012, completing the School for Correctional Ministries Reentry Leadership Credential Program.  As Executive Director Nick works with local organizations to come together to best serve those reentering in to society. Upon release Returning Home helps to coordinate the services needed for the individuals to be successful. Such areas as, church, mentoring, food, clothing, housing, jobs. Nick also assists in donor relationships, training, coaching mentors, organizing and leading community awareness events.

Nick also oversees the Woodland Hills Family Church Prison Ministry and is a former member of American Corrections Association Member. He lives in Branson, Missouri with his wife Kelly of eight years and has two children.
 

Joseph Williams, CMCA Executive Director

    Education:
  • A.A., William Tyndale College
  • B.A., William Tyndale College
  • M.A., Wayne State University


Leading social entrepreneur Joseph Williams is on a mission to restore the lives of those affected by crime. His passion for helping the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and their families reach their God-given potential is born from his own personal battles. In his gripping memoir, Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing: When the Actions of a Christian Turn Criminal, Joseph simultaneously recounts his own personal triumph over drugs, crime and prison and becomes a conduit of freedom for others.

As Founder and CEO of New Creations Community Outreach (formerly Transition of Prisoners), he developed and implemented a number of innovative approaches that have helped others to experience total restoration. An evaluation of New Creations’ TOP program conducted in 2000, found that those who graduated from the TOP program were ten times less likely to have any further contact with the criminal justice system than a control group consisting of those who did not go through the program. As a result of the innovation and success of the TOP program, Joseph was recognized as an outstanding social entrepreneur in 2006 by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global organization that promotes unique ways of addressing pressing social problems.

As Founder and President of the Christian Association for Prison Aftercare (CAPA) he used his vast experience and knowledge to inspire and teach numerous organizational leaders and criminal justice professionals around the world. These successes continue to provide Joseph with the opportunity to share his expertise, as well as his surprising humor and quick wit with other professionals at various forums around the nation. Among them are the prestigious bodies of the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Institute of Corrections. Joseph also serves on the national advisory board for the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism's Institute for Prison Ministry.
 

Steve Lowe, Executive Committee Member

    Education:
  • M.A., Intercultural Studies, Talbot Theological Seminary - Biola University
  • M.A., Psychology-clinical, Pepperdine University
  • M.A., Criminal Justice, California State University, San Bernardino
  • Doctoral Coursework, Claremont University


As a former probation counselor and therapist and today as a seasoned juvenile correctional chaplain, Steve has provided over 40 years of professional institutional service to California's San Bernadino, Riverside, and Orange counties. Supervising the Protestant Chaplaincy ministry for the Orange County Juvenile Justice Complex's seven institutions since 1981. Steve's purpose is to help fulfill the Great Commission with incarcerated and hurting youth, adults, and their families.

As the Founder, President, and Executive Chaplain for Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries, an international chaplain-placing ministry, Steve also assists Christian organizations and penal agencies as a consultant in program organization and development. He has experience as an adjunct faculty member, specializing in criminology and juvenile delinquency.

Steve is an ordained minister and is joined in ministry by his wife Jan. Steve and Jan have three grown children: Jeff, Morgan(deceased), and Jessica.
 

Joy Stevens, Executive Committee Member

    
    Education:


Joy Stevens is chaplain to women in the 3 area jails in the Metro Omaha area; Douglas County Corrections, Pottawattamie County and Sarpy County Jails.  She has worked in corrections since 1996 starting on death row at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.  She is a certified chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry, is certified in chaplaincy and reentry from School of Correctional Ministry at Wheaton College and has a Bachelors Degree in Bible and Christian Missions. She is a member of AJA (American Jail Association) and CMCA International. (Correctional Ministry Chaplain’s Association) and serves the board of the CMCA .
 
Joy is also being certified as a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute with American Bible Society and travels nationally doing training on trauma ministry.  Joy is married with 2 daughters and 7 grandchildren.

 

Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee Member Organization
Marsha R. Banks AMIRACLE4SURE, Inc.
Leticia Chavez-Paulette A Peaceful Habitation Home and Aftercare Ministry, Inc
Manuel Cordero Assemblies of God Chaplaincy
Raymond Cruz Awana Lifeline
Michele Dove Jericho Commission
Mary Engle Prison Fellowship
Robert Gauthier The Salvation Army
Evelyn Lemly Kairos Prison Ministry International
Jonathan Lewis  Re-entry Specialist
Mike Reighard Assemblies of God
Richard Rienstra CONTACT
Harold Dean Trulear Healing Communities, USA