5 Stone Media Group (dba Five Stone Media) is a 501c3 non-profit organization, created to tell authentic stories of transformation. Five Stone Media began with the story of John Turnipseed, who currently has 30 family members in prison. John was once the primary drug and gang lord in Minneapolis, and his personal story of redemption became Five Stone Media’s first film project. Two more films, a book and extremely powerful, evidence-based, interactive media content for offenders and ex-offenders followed. As his life changed, John advocated for faith-based, redemptive programming that was missing in prison. Today, after 11 years of working with prisoners and ex-offenders, two tested 12-part Lifeblood series are being presented to men and women in jails, prisons, half-way houses and other facilities abroad, including in Australia, as well as in Alabama, Florida, Minnesota and Texas. Five Stone Media curriculum is a) truly life-changing, b) licensed to trained facilitators, so that the quality and outcomes of programming can be monitored, c) scalable to include volunteer facilitators where paid staffing is unavailable, and d) powerful in its impact across cultures and languages. The curriculum is presented to 8-12 men or women at a time. Each one begins to identify with key roadblocks and traumas that led to their imprisonment. The curriculum is facilitated by prison staff, Salvation Army officers, Union Gospel Rescue mission chaplains, lay and licensed church staff, and other trained volunteers (including ex-offenders who themselves have experienced true transformation). Life change (and the potential for recidivism) is tracked through pre- and post-testing, evaluations by participants, and by the input of partnering organizations who may provide follow-up in halfway houses, e.g. Each course group also become a safe, affirming, mini-community in which transformation is facilitated.
Five Stone Media has grown organically through volunteer leadership, funding and creativity. This year, the Board of Directors authorized the appointment of paid staff and expansion to handle the organization’s growth across continents. This requires new funding from a broad range of resources, including churches, the legal community, business funders, arts funders and foundations that understand the deep need for real transformation in the lives of inmates or those at-risk of committing crimes.
"This is an excellent example of what can be done by those who are ready to move forward with their lives in a positive, productive manner".
John R. King, Former Warden, Retired Assistant Commissioner-Minnesota Department of Corrections