Everyone Has Value!
Who do you think ends up in our state prison facilities? Do we actually even care who’s occupying space in our prison system or does the state prison itself take care of that for us?
What if your son, a brother, your father, your mother or even your husband was there, would you care?
Or would you hide behind your own veil of shame?
We’re all tired. We’re all trying to survive…
Everyone’s drinking a bit just to take the edge off of it. Everyone’s smoking. Wired, yet tired. Even popping a pill or two to just do. We’re all tired. Everyone’s at the end of the rope without any hope!
We’re all distracted. Doing everything we can just to keep calm…
Just to keep it together.
Everyone’s high just to get by!!!
Everyone’s terrified hiding behind their pride!
We all mess up and we all need forgiveness.
Every failed relationship needs another to try again.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Now imagine it being known and exposed to all who dare to look, kind of like living with it taped to both your forehead and back.
How would you feel being completely exposed???
Probably would have to get high just to get by.
Maybe even rob the mob and sob…
How we survive prison is a life-long commitment…
Prisoners survive most sentences. Sooner or later, they return to the long-awaited outside world.
But is it really what they had hoped for, even fantasized about?
Nobody thinks about how they’re going to be discriminated against, even tagged with the big “F” as in felon precluding them from getting a decent job, a car, a roof over their head or even vote.
No one told them that they would have to live making minimum wage just to work. How can you possibly save enough money to get a car to drive to work, much less support a family with a roof over your head?
Nobody ever said you’d end up becoming a working homeless person just to survive in a world that is full of hate and condemnation.
You did the time for your crime, but now you’re forced to live on a dime!
With sobering statistics showing that two out of every three incarcerated return back to State Prison within three years, as a society we are all imprisoned by their incarceration. Once they are released and walk through those pearly gates, these beloveds must live by a completely foreign set of values and rules.
They have lived under the governance of institutionalized thinking being caged up like animals, but since we’re so good at punishing and not rehabilitating, prisoners forget quickly into their imprisonment how to critically think and function because it was all figured out for them being incarcerated.
Being institutionalized told them when to wake, pee, eat, shower, exercise, work, etc.
Kind of like a herd of sheep in their protective pens.
But this institutionalized thinking never permitted them to deal with the issues that led the prisoners to commit the crimes that incarcerated them in the first place. Now they’ve been forced to suppress that pain and have developed more issues from being incarcerated.
And we throw them back into reality with a whole new world that jeers their every move with spears of judgment, hate, ridicule, condemnation, discrimination and a lack of acceptance?
Not to mention, if they didn’t have an outpouring of love from family and friends who supported them with love and visitation during their incarceration, how can we expect them to successfully reenter society?
How can we make changes in our thinking and help our incarcerated reintegrate, rehabilitate ushering them into redemption to stay out of prison for the rest of their lives?
God commands us to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice, so…
One major weakness I find being a chaplain, transitioning Blameless and Forever Free Ministries towards the reentry side for our prisoners along with having served on the Inmate Family Council at Folsom State Prison, not even a tenth of all prisoners have contact visitation with loved ones and friends.
And without any love and support, we expect them to have successful transition back into society?
Everyone has value!
Re-offenders lack relationships!
Until next time…