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A Graduate's Story
Jason Heffner, who completed the BTL program at the maximum security Beto Prison, was the product of a very troubled home—neglect, abuse, addiction – all circumstances so typical in the lives of BTL offenders. He started drinking at age seven and never finished high school. He was convicted of felony drug possession, felony flight to avoid prosecution, and conspiracy to commit capital murder against a public official.
“I thought I was doing these things to survive. Bridges To Life taught me for the first time that I was hurting people and didn’t have a right to do these things to people…See, I always felt sorry for myself. I thought I was the victim. I had to learn to face me, Jason Heffner.”
Jason has been out of prison for several years and is leading a life filled with amazing acts of restitution. He was a volunteer fire fighter with the county fire and rescue department, where he has saved the lives of several accident victims. He told me that he dedicated every life he saved to BTL, since it was BTL that saved his life.
Participant Comments
“Your program provided hope when I was somewhat hopeless. It left me feeling edified and elevated. I would describe it as a method of metamorphosis. I was instilled with an authentic will to be a more compassionate human being, as well as provided the means to accomplish it. I can state with near certainty that you have reduced the recidivism rate by at least one.”

“This helped me with the realization that love allows me to forgive myself and start over. It showed me how to live in love and that I never have to return to prison.”

“After all the conversations with inmates, I am a better person and I have hope for our world like never before.”

“Helped me understand how victims and offenders feel because I have been both.”

"It helped me see the victim’s side of the story. I realize that every action I take will not only affect me but many others. I’ve learned how to make better decisions and how to forgive.”

“Stories are powerful. I learned that miracles can happen when we sit down and tell them to each other.”

“The most important things I received is understanding about why I react to some things in a negative way, and inner peace about the way my father treated me growing up.”

“After what happened to me, prison was the last place I thought I’d find more healing.”

“Bridges To Life helped me more on my journey to forgiveness and acceptance than anything I did or tried to do after my husband’s murder.”

“Allowing us to tell our story gives us the opportunity to verbalize for others and ourselves the pain we have endured which is important in the long journey of healing and wholeness in life.”

“I am the daughter of an inmate from the Hughes Unit that just completed your program. It caused him to recount events that were very difficult for him to look at closely after all these years even though I know he thinks about their effects daily. I want to first thank your program and the volunteers for being a part of this life changing event for him. Thank you again for your partnership with inmates and their victims.”