These stories, essays and Q&As from the Faith & Leadership archives address issues of mass incarceration, the jail and bond system, the death penalty, and rehabiliation and re-entry for former inmates.
The church is called to stand against the phenomenon of mass incarceration in the United States, says a pastor and author of “Rethinking Incarceration” in an interview.
People in prison don’t need saving; what they need is practical help from the church to show that faith is something besides a ticket to heaven, says the Baptist minister and prison chaplain.
Our prison system is a giant caging and killing machine, says a prison minister and death penalty opponent, and Christians are called to stand up and address it, freeing the captives and creating a new paradigm of restorative justice.
Jail and the bond system
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) celebrated its campaign to bail out black women from the Durham, N.C., jail in August 2017. Photo courtesy of SONG
When she was asked to help bail women out of a local detention center, a minister was at first surprised. But, she writes, she shouldn’t have been.
Tierra Nueva's highest value is hosting God's presence. Its website states, "When we love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength we experience peace, joy, and revelation and are empowered for ministry in places of great darkness and need."
Photos courtesy of Tierra Nueva
An ecumenical ministry in rural Washington state helps Latin American immigrants, migrant workers, gang members, addicts, jail inmates and people who have been incarcerated become leaders in their own community.
Death penalty and life sentence
An Episcopal priest finds in the obit pages of The Angolite -- Louisiana State Penitentiary’s award-winning magazine -- reminders that we are all members of the communion of saints.
For almost 30 years, Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking,” has been using witness and storytelling to bring people close to the reality of the death penalty.
Rehabilitation, support and re-entry
A volunteer paints the face of a little girl at Amachi Pittsburgh's Christmas 2013 celebration. The event included mentors and families as well as children on the waiting list for a mentor. Photos courtesy of Amachi Pittsburgh
After losing federal support in 2011, Amachi Pittsburgh, a faith-based organization that supports the children of people in prison, has worked to become financially sustainable by partnering without becoming dependent and broadening tactics without compromising mission.
Justice and healing from violence are best approached by simply being with those who are suffering, says a United Methodist layperson who directs a faith-based organization.