What You Can Do to Help Those Behind Bars by Jon Andreas

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The following was written by Jon Andreas, who is in the same prison as my friend Kenneth. I met Jon through our common friend Chris Holmes, and received permission to republish his essay on my blog. Jon is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Philosophy, so he knows how to do research!

[Update: please read the comments below for more background on Jon Andreas, including details of why he is in prison.]

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“Let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
— Amos 5:24

What You Can Do to Help Those Behind Bars
For my friend Chris Holmes & his church
by Jon Andreas
July 2006

I’ve been where you are. Literally. I visited your church several times. I drove there from my lakeside condo in Thousand Oaks in my Land Rover. I’m a graduate of Mission Viejo High School, Dordt College, and received my master’s at Pepperdine. I spent 11 years teaching — mostly at Christian schools. I got drunk twice in college. Hated it both times. I’ve never done drugs. I’ve never had sex. Over the years, I’ve had a handful of speedingtickets. I wore my first set of handcuffs in 2002 and was shortly thereafter sentenced to 28 years in prison. My life as I knew it was over. I wanted to die.

I remember shortly after college when Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship group came to my church to recruit people to visit the local prison. I hid behind the guy in front of me. Hey, I was way too busy! My schedule already overfull! Who would want to hang out with a bunch of thugs behind bars anyway? Besides, they might take me hostage in order to escape!

Now I live with those thugs, take showers with those thugs, and put up with their bad manners in the chow hall. An “O.G.” (Old Gangster = veteran inmate; been ‘down’ 20 years or more) told me early on, “The two things you’ll find the most in here are loneliness and anger.” It’s true. Loneliness because of a lack of contact with family and friends; and anger at the injustice of being treated as less than human.

California’s prisons are an abomination. If the true test of a society’s soul is how it treats its marginalized members, then we Californians should be deeply ashamed of ourselves. The poorest of the poor are imprisoned, emasculated, and continually kicked while they’re down. If it’s revenge and brutal punishment you want, you’re getting it, at $30,000 per prisoner per year paid out of your taxes. The prison-industrial complex has become a multi-billion dollar per year profit-making machine in this state alone. At 172,000 inmates California now has the largest prison population per capita of every state in the US and, standing alone, every other nation on the globe! And our recidivism (return to prison) rate is also the highest at 70%.

And if you’re looking for rehabilitation or reconciliation, look elsewhere. There are little or no incentives for good behavior and even less for rehabilitation. Any sense of restorative justice must be aggressively pursued by each inmate, and even then only a tiny percentage find help. While the system makes money hand-over-fist and sways political elections, it is morally bankrupt.

Since our 33 prisons are now officially at double capacity, everything is quickly falling apart: doctors have twice as many patients, plumbing & electricity are overburdened, inmates are more angry & violent (what I call the “overcrowded elevator syndrome”), guards are more on edge & face more danger, and educational & other rehabilitative programs are shut down to free up space for housing more prisoners. Throwing two agitated dogs into a cage designed for one is not a good idea! The same applies to humans (especially gang members)!

Most prisoners will return to the streets — thousands do every month — but because their prison time was spent being lonely & angry, and because they weren’t taught how to be productive in the real world, 70% of them will commit more crimes and return to prison.

Prison reform is not only a desperately-needed pragmatic thing, but I believe it’s also a Christian thing. It’s part of bringing the shalom of Christ’s kingdom here and now. Christians can help to bring healing to this
part of our society in at least two ways: micro- and macro-involvement

MICRO

Get to know one or more inmates. This is scary. Trust me. I have to do it every day. But in the end it’s not as bad as you might first think. Try one of these:

1. Donate some used books to your local county jail.
You won’t get to know anyone personally, but it’s an easy way to get involved. Besides, most jails have only trashy romance novels to read.

2. Volunteer to help the local prison chaplain with his/her worship services.
It might be one Thursday (or whatever) night per -nonth where you simply accompany him/her/others to lead a dozen men in a Bible study and some singing. Even if you’re a woman in a men’s jail/prison, you’re completely safe. It’s hard to believe, I know, but you’re far safer attending a worship service behind bars than taking a walk at your local beach (even at Newport). Not only are the guards always close by, but the inmates know that the slightest indiscretion toward you would result in more time behind bars for them. Trust me, if one wacko jumped up and tried to grab you, he’d never reach you. The other inmates would tackle him first! It’s true.

MACRO
Get involved in statewide politics for prison reform, even if it’s just casting a vote. Building more prisons won’t solve anything (except making the guards’ union richer).

1. The “Three Strikes” law needs to be amended…
…to release the 25,000 prisoners whose third strike was a nonviolent offense (send the druggies to rehab, not to prison!). That’s $750 million saved right there!

2. Another few thousand inmates are illegal immigrants.
Give them a one-way ticket home.

3. The governor (whoever’s in office) must be encouraged to release more than a tiny percentage of those inmates declared ready for parole by the (ultra-conservative) Parole Board.
A murderer who has been locked up for 20 years on a years-to-life sentence and who has the Parole Board’s approval should be given another chance. There are thousands of those.

Those three things alone will save the state a cool billion dollars each year. Invest half of that in rehabilitative programs (education, counseling, mentoring, etc.) and we’ll start to reverse the upward spiraling recidivism and overcrowding trends. It’s working in other states (and countries)! This isn’t rocket science, but it does take some tightening of the belt and willingness to cut the guards’ union down to size. (I’m all for unions, just not omnipotent ones.)

I don’t have all the answers, I’m still learning of injustices every day (e.g. prison phone company [MCI] monopoly & price gouging), but you can join me in keeping your ear to the ground by staying connected to places like …

And reading things like …
+ An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse by Jens Soering (a short book
and quick read packed with stunning up-to-date statistics!)

Remember: When you visit someone in prison, you are visiting Jesus.

26 thoughts on “What You Can Do to Help Those Behind Bars by Jon Andreas

    • Erin G.

      Jon Andreas is currently serving a 28 year sentence after pleading guilty to 15 counts of child molestation and 1 count of child pornography. He accepted the plea to avoid a life sentence due to the number of victims involved, I believe. You know, the 3 strikes law that he wishes would go away. Well, when he gets out and offends again, if he does that is, he will never see the light of day if he gets caught.

      If you want the news paper article I can send it to you.
      Yes, pray for him…I do.. that God keeps him in jail and keeps the children safe from him

      • My goodness Erin G., the venom for this individual is quite apparent. Yes, Jon will spend another 20 years in prison. He will be an old man before he is released. He is serving his time. His life is over. Why the anger and hatred? Do you not believe that someone can pay a debt to society by serving time in prison? I also know Jon and believe that he is paying the price for his convictions. Get over it and move on.

      • SuZee,
        Please educate yourself on Pedophilia, from the victims point of view…you read venom and hate into comments meant to express devastation, sadness, pain from the victims side…If you can tell the victims how to “get over it”…By all means, let them know…You, I assume are a woman…if you have a daughter understand that the pedophile has been put away to keep your child safe.. You are one of the sadly misguided people who think the monster in jail can ‘pay’ for his crimes. Tell that to the victims. Old man? or Old pedophile? He will reoffend when he gets out…You only think you know the pedophile…if you really knew him you would recognize his con in his essay…Please be more careful how you address the victims, please…they are children of God abused by this pedophile who has been active for many years and has many victims to his name, more than we will ever know. No, we will not go away. Stay tuned for more.

        Blessings!

      • Well SuZee, You are quite correct, in 20 year Jon will be an old man and free once again, At that time you are welcome to invite him to live in your neighborhood. You say you know Jon you have obviously said your prayers for him but how many prayers have you said for his victims. It all ways amazes me how much care and support is expressed for the perpetrator in this case, Yes, Jon’s sentence will be over in 20 years, but those little girls sentences will last a live time, a lifetime of fear, nightmares, depression, anxiety, And perpetual therapy along with a community that shuns them rather than supporting them as they should. Try telling them to “get over It”. Think about who you are praying for.

    • i went to school were Jonathan Andreas was my principal, mentor, pastor, teacher i trusted him. he molested a girl in my class. i trusted him, he taught me everything i knew about god at age 12 when this all came out and i thought how could god have a molester be teaching me the word of god. i turned my back on jesus at that time i went down a dark road i have no sympathy for him.

      • Like Cassidy, Jon Andreas was my principal; I was in the same class as the girl who was his victim. The facade that he put on in the time I knew him was such a shock when we found out who he really was. I’m glad he’s put away for as long as he is, and he deserves every minute that he’s locked up. This was a man who “befriended” his students, who would take them out to lunch if they did well in school, and looking back on his conduct, knowing he was doing at the time, it makes me sick. He tries to make himself sound like such a saint in the first paragraph – like his arrest was a “whoops here I am in handcuffs” moment that he didn’t deserve because he “doesn’t like being drunk” and “never had sex.” I’m pretty sure sexual molestation – of children, no less – is worse than anything he mentioned, and certainly cancels out the “sex” part. At least the majority of “drunk, drugged up sluts” aren’t harming anyone but themselves. And though I was not personally a victim, ten years later here I am looking up information on him because I still think sometimes about how a man who I trusted – as a teacher, as a spiritual leader, and as a mentor – could have been such a liar and have done such horrible things to a girl who was my friend, and how I never knew any of it was happening. I’m sure many of the kids, who are now adults, that I went to school with feel the same. He caused what I’m sure was intense emotional damage to young girls for his own personal gain, and betrayed the trust of an entire school and community. This man is a sociopath, and I have no sympathy for him.

  1. Dear Jon,

    So sorry to hear of your troubles. You’re still my best friend from High School and I would love to hear from you.

    God Bless,
    Don

    • Dear Don Borchert,

      Your best friend is in jail after pleading guilty to 15 counts of child molestation and one count of child pornography. Victims ages, 10, 11, 13 years old. There are other victims we think. If the case had gone to trial who knows how many victims would have been uncovered pending a thorough investigations. We are happy to know he is behind bars for 28 years where he cannot hurt another child of God.

  2. Hello — if you know how to contact Jon, please send me an email on how to do so. I knew Jon from years ago in NH, and would like to get a hold of him. Thanks.

    • Jennifer D.

      Jon is currently serving a 28 year sentence for child molestation, 15 counts, and 1 count of child pornography.

      His very first conviction was expunged and so went on to become a teacher and predator working in Christian schools .

      The system may have failed the victims by expunging his record but it sounds like it is working now.

    • Dr. Ernie,
      Jon Andreas may not be the person you believe his is. I know Jon Andreas very well and it would appear he is using you to his own end in my opinion. He is a convicted pedophile….in his essay he says he never had sex…is sexual molestation of a child not sex???
      Personally, his comments made me physically sick.
      Read up on child molesters, their personality, their ability to manipulate people, the socio pathology behind their thought process. Pedophiles, it is largely believed, cannot be rehabilitated.

  3. Jon,
    It is a crazy thing to find you this way. I found an old letter from you today (from 1989 I think). You were congratulating me about deciding to go to Dordt. I never ended up there unfortunately. And you certainly are as far from the FBI as you planned to be, I see. I am glad that one thing we still have in common is the fact that God is the central part of each of our lives. He will see you through this and I hope you can make a change for the system!
    God Bless You,
    Cassie

    • To all who view this ‘essay’. Jon Andreas has failed to inform you that he is a convicted child molester who plead guilty to several counts of child molestation, involving children ages 10, 11, and 13 years old. that we know of. We suspect there were more victims. His first offense was as a young man but his conviction was expunged from his record allowing him access to children as a teacher in Christian schools . He hid behind the face of god, in my opinion, I know Jon Andreas as a pedophile who should spend the rest of his lLife behind bars.

      Shame on you Chris Homes for publishing a pedophiles words on this forum

      • Terri C,

        If you feel this strongly about child molesters, why are you continuing to focus your power on one individual? The State of California has made a decision that 28 years is sufficient time for Jon to pay for his crimes. If you want him to spend his life behind bars, you need to spend your time changing the law! He will be out in 20 years, whether you like it or not. Why are you hanging around this website badmouthing the few friends that he has at this time. Why not spend your time changing the current laws that we have and help to assure that child molesters are sentenced to life convictions?
        Besides, as a Christian, are you not able to accept that people can ask forgiveness for their sins? You seem unable to accept that people can be forgiven for their trespasses. Who are you to be a judge?

      • I am the mother of one of his victims. That is why I ‘hang around’ this website. To protect her and the other victims from the pedophiles con and his continued attempts to reach the victims. Also, we will stand guard against persons such as your self who participate in the victimization of the children by minimizing their pain. You do this without knowing the effect you have on the victims. You sound angry and protective of the pedophile. Which is your right. We are making and will make every attempt to keep this pedophile in jail for life. We have some power over this case since we are the victims so we focus on it. We have very little power over the larger issue…The Polly Klass foundation is doing a better job than we can.

        If we can further bring justice to the victims by letting the pedophiles ‘friends’ know who he really is maybe we will save them, their families and their children the same grief we experience. If he gets out in 20 years and his ‘friends’ don’t know the extend of his pedophilia and his con they will expose their children or grandchildren to possible molestation.

        We don’t want this blog to include the pedophiles essay at all and in fact don’t want it to be active and I think we are going to pursue that end largely because you have proven our point…You all have the power to cause pain and grief to the victims. I will not allow my child to be hurt nor will I allow the other victims to be hurt. My daughter, husband and other children have posted on this blog…we have friends waiting in line too…

      • Dear Terri,
        I sincerely empathize with your pain and anger. One of my closest friends as well as my wife were victims of sexual molestation as children by adults. Upon hearing of their ordeals for the first time, I remember how much pain and outrage I felt. My initial emotional reaction was to curse and damn the perpetrators of the crimes. However, as time has progressed, I have learned to forgive both criminals. One of the factors that has led me to do this is that both my friend and my wife have found it in their hearts to forgive their molesters. While both have not forgotten (and never will), they believe that if they hold onto their hatred and resentment they will not only be ignoring Christ’s command to love your enemies but also they will continue to suffer more emotionally.

        Having said all that, I want to respond to your criticism for publishing Jon’s open letter. First, and foremost, this letter was not written as a mea culpa letter expecting individual sympathy for him.Six years ago, while visiting him and another friend in prison, I asked both of them what the Christian church could do to reach out more to prisoners in America. After a thoughtful discussion, I asked Jon if he could write down on paper some concrete suggestions for Christians who want to minister to people in prison. The end result was the essay you now see published on this Web site. If you read it carefully, you will notice that nowhere does Jon exculpate himself from his crimes or suggest that he has been unjustly punished. Having talked to Jon numerous times since his incarceration, I can assure you that Jon is truly remorseful for his past sins and does not think he is some innocent victim of the state’s legal system. With that said, Jon is critical of the current operation of the California penitentiary system. If you carefully read the essay again, you will find that he mainly is trying to expose the deplorable state of California’s prisons and make suggestions to people as to what they might do to change that state. That is all, nothing more or less.

      • As I said several times…The essay is self serving…as are your comments…Do not attempt to contact me or my family again. Do not attempt to evangelize to me or my family. You have no right nor is it welcome. We will continue our efforts to keep the pedephile off the street so he cannot re offend. Perhaps those living under the current state of our penal system should have thought about that BEFORE they committed crimes against children…As I said, …too little too late. Perhaps you should re-read the essay and recognize it for what it is…an attempt to gloss over his crimes with a ‘poor me’ undertone. Me, I love the penal system in this particular case…it has not failed me or my family. We only wish we could have given him a life sentence as he gave all his victims. An eye for an eye…Don’t you just love the Bible…we can pick out any quote to fit any circumstance.

      • One more thing Chris, if you read the essay carefully, as you told me to do, then perhaps you can explain his comment that he never had sex???? Child molestation is not sex???? Lies, lies, lies…and you bought into them …If you cannot see the essay for what it truly is then you are still as misguieded as you were when you were his roommate during the time he perpetrated his crimes against children…sometimes in your shared home. Where were you then???

      • If this is truly the Chris H. that was Jon’s roommate you should be ashamed of yourself for standing up for him. I am Christine, the last victim of molestation by Jon Andreas. The one to successfully put him in jail for the crimes he committed and the pain and devastation he caused to me and to others. You knew me Chris H. You were welcomed into my family’s home on several occasions with open arms. You were living with a man who was sexually abusing young girls. Sexually abusing ME to be specific. In your own apartment it happened Chis, I could tell you exactly the things he did to me and exactly where it happened in your old apartment. Does that not make your skin crawl? Make you sick to your stomach? If it does not cause this reaction in you then don’t you dare claim to empathize with me and my family. Your “forgiveness” of the perpetrators that abused your wife and friend means nothing to me. You have not experienced the devastation that child sexual abuse causes. You do not know what it is like to live with this burden and this pain. But I do. And I will never forgive what that perversion of a man has done to me. What he did to my family. The damage that he caused is irreparable and is something that I have to deal with on a daily basis for the remainder of my life. Your “assurance” of his remorse is useless to me. He does not deserve my forgiveness and he will never receive it. So do not tell me that it is “Christ’s way” and that it is something I should seek out. Your bible talk is unnecessary and unwelcome.

        As for this essay; the sudden desire to fix the California Penal System and the concern for prisoner’s spirituality is a joke and clearly a self serving manipulation. Would he have ever given it a second thought if I hadn’t gotten him 28 years of jail time? I highly doubt it. If I was stuck in prison I’d be screaming for reform too. He should have considered what life might be like in prison long before he started sexually abusing girls. Which by the way he fails to mention in his essay. No where in his essay is there a single moment of remorse for his crimes. He does not even mention them! He paints an innocent victim’s picture of himself that he DOES NOT deserve. It is a slap in the face to me, HIS VICTIM BY MOLESTATION! I find it sickening that you support the facade of innocence he created around himself.

  4. I love how he doesn’t mention what he is in for. This man is in jail because he is a child molester, and I was the victim that got him his 28 year sentence and justice for the other girls that he damaged. I’m glad to hear that he isn’t exactly enjoying his time.

    • Christine,

      You are a hero…You stopped the predation of children. God gave you the strength you needed to accomplish the task set before you. You stood up for justice and to protect other children from going through what you went through. Those who really know and love you understand the pain, the torment the rejection you suffered at the hands of fundamental, evangelical Christians who believe this criminal should be set free or never sent to jail at all. Hmmm, would they be singing the same tune if their precious child was molested by this pedophile who used THEIR GOD to prey on christian children and their families, in my opinion. Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord…and I truly believe he asked you to carry this message and you did it admirably.

      Anyone who visits this sight, please pray for the victims of Jon Andreas…May he suffer in this world for his sins and beg God’s forgiveness to enter the next where he may find better accomodations. He did not complain about the justice system when his first conviction was expunged from his record allowing him to continue his predation.

      I do not advocae that any person not follow their belief system to minister to those in jail…just don’t be fooled by this pedophiles manipulations of your good heart and intentions. Jon Andreas is all about Jon Andreas as are all pedophiles, in my opinion.

      Some of us will continue to “stand guard” from the outside to make sure he does not get out of jail before completion of his current 28 year sentence. Rehabilitation of a pedophilia is uncommon and he may reoffend when he gets out. The three strike law will be looking really good to that child and their family if this should happen.

      Think on it folks…PROTECT THE CHILDREN…They are entrusted to us as a gift from God…betrayal is not an option.

      I

  5. To all who have read this essay you need to be aware of the source.

    Jon Andreas is a confessed child molester with at least 3 victims from ages 10-13. He is a Sociopath who preys on innocent children using the cover of the church and “Christian Faith in God” Do not become a victim of his Con. His entire essay is another example of his self centered attempt to enlist the sympathy of others through false attestation of Christian belief and practice. If you Truly have faith then you will know that Jon is enduring exactly the justice that God saw fit to place upon him for the sexual abuse he admittedly inflicted on innocent young girls. Sociopaths like Jon cannot be rehabilitated and given the opportunity will repeat their offense.

    If you want to pray for someone, or provide support for someone then consider the Victims of Crimes like the one that Jon has committed. Girls Like Christine are indeed Heros for standing up to monsters like Jon and bringing them to justice to prevent others from becoming victimsof this sexual preditor as well. And even as Hero’s, these little girls must endure a life sentence of recovery from a personal assault that was forced upon them and for which they are alienated by their own community. Victims of these crimes deserve your prayers and support far more than the perpetrators.

    I pray that you are not duped as I once was by the false christian piety of this Criminal Sociopath.

  6. Good for you Christine for speaking your mind!!

    Comments like those of Chris Holmes, just go to show the power of the deciept and influence that this Con Artist and manipulator has over people. Especially those who must be feeling their own guilt and remorse, and responsibilty for enabling and turning a blind eye to what was happening right under their nose. That must be a great burden to carry Chirs, especialy now that you have a family of your own. I can’t help but feel it is a burden that you should carry. Where were you when It came to protecting my daughter in your home? And even now you protect and defend Jon and not the Victim. One could see that as pretty self serving as well. With that said Keep in mind that every time you communicate in this way to my family the victims, you pertetuate the crime that has been committed and continue to be a party to the abuse that it inflicts. Think about that the next time you post something. Given the fact that Jon is precluded from communicating to us in anyway, don’t be duped into being his mouth piece and becoming and accomplice to the ongoing crime.

    Laurent

  7. Thank you, Chris H., for recognizing what Jon’s essay is all about… deplorable conditions within the state prison system. Nothing more. There are a number of “Christian” individuals who seem to have enough free time to monitor this blog and write hateful counters to every response. I know that I will see a reply to my response within a day or two. First off, you don’t have to worry about Jon for another 18 years or so. He is safely locked away. Instead of spending your time on this blog, professing to be wonderful “Christians,” and hating on one individual, get out from behind this anonymous website and do something constructive to make a difference in our schools. Public schools or Christian schools, it doesn’t make a difference. Individuals are waiting to take advantage of children. Raging on someone who has been convicted and is locked behind bars is useless and a waste of time. Be a true hero and help protect the children who are being subjected to pedophiles who are in our classrooms today. Better yet, why not encourage every parent to home school their children. Make sure that parents understand that school administrators are not “friends” of the students or their families, even if there is the veil of religion to mask their criminal acts. It is not acceptable for a school administrator to go on vacations or outings with families of the students, or spend time with them outside of school hours. That seems to have been the problem with Jon and his victims. The families befriended him and included him outside of traditional school hours, all in the name of trust by religion.

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