Jerome Arnold, right, checked in with his client, Phillip Melton, who said of his case manager, “He always has been there for me.” The two talk on the phone daily and meet up at least once a week. Jerome Arnold, who started as a case manager with Criminal Justice Ministry in January, received help from the ministry after his release from prison and pledged to one day return and help other veterans.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
At an apartment in south St. Louis, Jerome Arnold greeted Phillip Melton as if they were old friends. But they’d only met a month earlier, after Melton had been released from prison.
Melton told Arnold that the move was simple, he’d unpacked and even lost weight. Most importantly, he hadn’t had an alcoholic drink since he left prison.
“Way to go,” Arnold praised Melton, referring to him as, “a good man, a good person, not a hassle.”
As a case manager with the Criminal Justice Ministry of St. Louis (CJM), Arnold checks up on Melton and assists him and other men in the Rent to Release housing program for military veterans. Arnold empathizes with the clients — in 2012 he was homeless, on probation on a drug conviction, struggling with addiction and probably on his way back to prison when he got help from the ministry.
“CJM literally changed my life,” Arnold said. “I was a convicted felon. CJM gave me a second chance to get my life together.”