by Max Brantley
Scott McLean would have testified that he had been the Director of Arkansas’s InnerChange Freedom Initiative Program (IFI) for prisoners until the program lost its government funding in 2011. At that time, Mr. McLean started raising money for a non-profit to continue the work of IFI called Pathway to Freedom. Pathway to Freedom was a Christ- centered, voluntary program for Arkansas prisoners that helped inmates transition successfully back into society as law-abiding citizens. The program relied entirely on private donations and involved 18 to 24 months of pre-release classes, counseling, and job training, and 12 months of post-release support through mentorship, housing, employment, and other services.
Alzono Jiles introduced Mr. McLean to Ted Suhl in 2011 because he thought Mr. Suhl would support Pathway to Freedom. Mr. McLean met with Ted Suhl and explained Pathway to Freedom’s program. After that meeting, Ted Suhl donated $50,000 to Pathway to Freedom in December 2011, $100,000 in 2012, $102,000 in 2013, and $73,500 in 2014. Mr. Suhl never asked for any benefits, gifts, or favors in return for any of these donations.
Mr. Suhl’s donations constituted about 25% of Pathway to Freedom’s budget and were essential for the opening and successful operation of the program. Mr. McLean believes the program’s effectiveness and the state’s recidivism rate have suffered since Mr. Suhl’s donations ceased in 2014 after the Government shut down his businesses. Mr. McLean’s testimony would have been consistent with what Mr. McLean told the FBI agent who approached him at the Pathway to Freedom office on July 7, 2016.
Consistently, Alzono Jiles would have testified that he introduced Mr. Suhl to Mr. McLean because in his 28 years of working with the Suhl family, he knew Mr. Suhl was raised to support and participate in prison ministries.