The mission of Bridges To Life (BTL) is to connect communities to prisons in an effort to reduce the recidivism rate (particularly that resulting from violent crimes), reduce the number of crime victims, and enhance public safety. The spiritual mission of Bridges To Life is to minister to victims and offenders in an effort to show them the transforming power of God’s love and forgiveness.
Bridges To Life was founded in 1998 by Houstonian John Sage after the brutal murder of his sister, Marilyn, in 1993. His sister’s killers were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. John began to realize the terrible toll his sister’s murder had taken on his life, the lives of everyone else in his family, Marilyn’s friend,s and the community. After reflection, prayer, and time, John was able to forgive his sister’s murderers; and he realized that he had a place in his heart for all offenders. This life-changing experience inspired John to develop a rehabilitation program to take crime victims into the prison to work directly with offenders.
"After experiencing the gut-wrenching aftermath of my sister’s murder, I have great empathy for victims of crime. Crime plunges innocent victims into a dark side of society that they do not ask for or deserve. Victims of crime are the very heart and soul of Bridges To Life,” shares John.
By founding the Bridges To Life program, John was intent not only on bringing the same healing he had experienced to other victims of crime, but also on reducing the recidivism rates* among offender participants and increasing community safety through the subsequent reduction in crime. The Bridges To Life program has two main goals: (1) To reduce recidivism (re-offending) rates of program graduates, thus making our communities safer; and (2) To facilitate the healing process for victims and offenders. Over 28,000 offenders have graduated from Bridges To Life since its inception. BTL has worked in over 95 prisons (48 in Texas), and its curriculum has been used in 11 other states and 4 foreign countries.
With the assistance of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and other essential partners, Bridges To Life has completed 125 projects in 67 prisons, juvenile, and alternative settings in 2015. Over 4,600 inmates graduated from the program with the help of 584 volunteers who contributed over 56,000 service hours, valued at over $1,382,000!
*An offender is considered to have recidivated if, after release from prison, he/she commits a new crime or violates the term of his/her parole within 3 years and is re-incarcerated.