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McGreevey Says His New Life Of Service Has Brought Valuable Lessons

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey said this weekend that his work counseling prisoners has brought him to “a more Godly place.”

New Jersey’s former governor has left the limelight of politics far behind since resigning from office in November 2004 after announcing “I am a gay American” and admitting to having an extramarital affair with a man.

He told WCBS 880 that his resignation in disgrace was actually a blessing.

“The blessing of 2004 and my resignation is that I had the opportunity to reassess my values; what was at my core. And a dear friend said to me, ‘If you could do anything at this point in life, think about pursuing what your passion would be,’” McGreevey said.

As 1010 WINS reported last week, McGreevey now draws from his own experience to counsel drug addicts and prisoners on the promise and possibility of a second chance.

He said his desire for selfless service dated back to a time earlier in his life when he was considering becoming a priest.

“I think when I was in high school, and also law school, I thought about entering into the priesthood or the Jesuits then, and so I had an opportunity to reassess where I was, and go deeper into my sense of values,” McGreevey said.

He said he hopes the public learns that prisoners are not stripped of their humanity once they are incarcerated.

“If any good comes out of this, hopefully it’s that when we drive by those high concrete walls with barbed wire, we understand that there are human beings behind those walls, and America is 5 percent of the world’s population, but we’re 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population,” McGreevey said.

McGreevey said working among prisoners has taught him many valuable lessons.

“You spend time with people who are broken, and you see the sense of goodness within them, but you have to work with them. And I also achieved a parallel blessing; they working with me to move to a more, what I would perceive, Godly place,” he said.

Though the former governor avoids the spotlight, he will be cast back into the public eye in a new HBO documentary “Fall to Grace,” which focuses on the failure of the country’s prison system to rehabilitate and prevent recidivism, 1010 WINS reported last week.

The documentary airs next Thursday.

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