Offering a Hand Instead of Handcuffs
What do a lawyer, a minister, an astrologer, and a psychologist have in common with a hair stylist, a musician, a career
counselor, and an artist? They are among the seventeen volunteers for Project Help.
This project aspires to create a community model of prevention and rehabilitation rather than incarceration. The idea is to
inspire people to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Project Help’s current focus is to help rehabilitate the thief that stole & then returned an artist's painting, as they feel the thief is
ripe for counsel. The volunteers want to support the plunderer’s positive direction by offering their services to the thief for free.
Below is a form which the thief can fill out to let us know what help he/she needs. The form can also be used for
comments, feedback, and other volunteers to sign up to help.
The volunteers are offering:
• Legal advice
• Debt resolution: new beginnings, improve financial situation
• Therapy: treatment of anxiety, depression, and serious mental illness
• Drug and alcohol rehabilitation
• Life coaching: discover purpose in life and assistance in fulfilling
• Astrology: understand strengths, transform weaknesses
• Job interview preparation: resume assistance, hair cut and styling, personal attire, and voice lessons
• Job placement
• Coaching: personal success, business, athletics
• Mentoring in the arts: painting, writing, singing, piano, music theory, and the performing arts
• Nurturing and nourishing: motherly advice with a sense of humor, home made meal made from scratch
The help will be coordinated through the artist, Suzanne B. Stryker. In interviews with the media, she made it clear that she
would drop the charges if the artwork was returned. Per her request, the Fairfield Police Department has provided
documentation that the case of the stolen painting has been closed and will never be reopened. The robber can never be
charged for the theft.
Stryker said, “When the economy goes down, crime rate goes up. With massive budget cuts, it would serve us all if
rehabilitate rather than incarcerate was our motto.
The Artist has a message for the thief:
“I am touched that you took the risk to return my painting. You have made amends and I am inspired. I want to offer a hand
instead of handcuffs. I am wondering if you need help in any way. I am just a simple artist. I can teach you how to paint a
painting like the one you took, but maybe that’s not what you need, so we have a group of professionals who, out of the
kindness of their heart, are offering their services to you at no charge. So that you feel safe, they will sign a confidentiality
agreement so that you can be assured of privacy. You can communicate with me whenever and however you feel comfortable
and let me know how we can assist you. No one needs to know your identity.”
You can use the form below to anonymously contact Project Help.
Stryker said, “The U.S. prison system has gotten out of hand, almost five times the number of people are in prison as
compared to thirty years ago and it costs us $68 billion a year. John Grishman’s nonfiction book, An Innocent Man and the
Innocent Project and the Justice Policy Institute provide facts about the injustice in our justice system and give solutions. Until
these solutions are implemented, if we can help one another and prevent even one person from getting ensnared in this
broken system - that would be worth our while.”
• It costs about $25,000 per person per year to be in prison.
• Research shows that nearly two out of every three people released from prison will be re-arrested within three years of
release, mostly due to technical parole violations.
• The U.S. has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five
times greater than the U.S.
• The U.S. holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people.
• In 1972 the prison population was less than 300,000. In 1990 it was one million and then doubled to 2 million by the
• Iowa spent $319 million in 2007 for correctional expenditures.
Stryker said, “ With correctional budget cuts loaming, perhaps it would serve us all to rehabilitate rather than incarcerate."
|Below is the form which the thief can fill out to let us know what help he/she needs.
The form can also be used for volunteers, comments, feedback, and suggestions.
Fairfield has created the Fairfield Volunteer Center to
coordinate volunteers with people and organizations
that need help.