History of BTL
Bridges To Life (BTL) is a faith-based restorative justice program for incarcerated men and women that provides a platform for life-changing transformation. Starting in one prison in Richmond, Texas, with 41 inmate graduates in 1999, over 53,000 men and women have graduated from the BTL program in 169 prisons and alternative facilities.
Founded by native Houstonian John Sage in 1998, BTL was born out of an unspeakable tragedy: the murder of John's sister Marilyn in 1993. In the wake of this devastating event, John realized the terrible toll it had taken, not only on his family’s lives, but also on those of his sister’s friends, co-workers, and community.
As he searched for spiritual answers to his grief and pain, John began volunteering for a prison ministry where crime victims shared their stories with offenders and saw compassion born in them as they awakened to the impact of their actions. After experiencing the powerful restorative effect of this process on both the offenders and victim volunteers alike, and wanting to expand it to others, John developed the Bridges To Life program.
Based on the principles of restorative justice, the mission of Bridges To Life is to connect communities to prisons to reduce the recidivism rate (particularly that of 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.