Justice Problems in Prison

Does the Gospel, really, bear on every aspect of the world? Does this include prison, and criminals? Should we care about prison rape?

Yes…

But by and large, we seem to find more humor than outrage in these crimes. In part, this simply reflects the nature of our criminal justice system, which has become decreasingly rehabilitative and increasingly retributive.

Here are some other interesting quotes.

“In the 1970s, as economist Glenn Loury has written, “the corrections system was commonly seen as a way to prepare offenders to rejoin society. Since then, the focus has shifted from rehabilitation to punishment and stayed there.”

“Morally, our tacit acceptance of violence within prisons is grotesque. But it’s also counterproductive. Research by economists Jesse Shapiro and Keith Chen suggests that violent prisons make prisoners more violent after they leave. When your choice is between the trauma of hardening yourself so no one will touch you or the trauma of prostituting yourself so you’re protected from attack, either path leads away from rehabilitation and psychological adjustment. And we, as a society, endure the consequences — both because it leads ex-cons to commit more crime on the streets and because more of them end up back to jail. A recent report released by the Pew Center on the States revealed that more than one in 100 Americans is now behind bars. California alone spends $8.8 billion a year on its imprisoned population — a 216% increase over what it paid 20 years ago, even after adjusting for inflation. That’s money, of course, that can’t be spent on schools, on job training, on wage supports and drug treatment. Money, in other words, that can’t be spent on all the priorities that keep people out of prison. Money that’s spent instead on housing prisoners in a violent, brutal and counterproductive atmosphere. And there’s nothing funny about that.

Ok, so anybody have any thoughts on this?

Should the gospel have an impact on the way we allow prisoners to be treated?

Should the church have and take responsibility for this?

Live from New York, its…Thoughts on Thursday (On “Excellence”)?

Well, I just wrapped up my half-week in New York attending the Dwell Conference, and I hope to post some thoughts and refelctions from that time. In the meantime, here is a excellent and challenging quote I just read off of Tullian Tchividjian’s blog (someone I saw at the Conference, but didn’t happen to connect with, unfortunately – as I have been really enjoying his blog lately.  You should check it out here).  

This quote comes from a longer quote dealing with the question of Educational Excellence” in our American Educational system.  I found it extremely challenging and provocative, especially as we, the church, need to think very long and hard about what it will take to gain an influential hearing with the world around us.   As always, thoughts, comments and other provocations are greatly welcomed and encouraged.

“If the evangelical church is to have any meaningful voice in the circles of elite global influence, then it will need to do more than address its latent anti-intellectualism. It will have to make the life of the mind a spiritual responsibility of faithful apprenticeship to Jesus.”