Friday, January 26, 2007

Prison ministries make a difference

Two stories caught my eye this week about small prison ministry programs in Texas making a difference. First, Dave Maass at the SA Curent lets us know about a prison ministry I was unaware of called "All Life Is Precious":
On Sundays, from 1–6 p.m., All Life is Precious Ministries broadcasts a “Shout-Out” radio show on KDOL 96.1 FM, preaching the gospel to the 2,900 inmates at the nearby Polunsky prison unit and providing a venue for supporters to communicate with the incarcerated. The night before an execution they broadcast a special show dedicated to the condemned inmate.
Meanwhile, the Longview News Journal has the story of Restoration Prison Ministry, a shelter and re-entry program in Longview. Said one participant of the program's matron: "With most people, it doesn't matter what happens to us ... We're just outcasts. But she puts you under her wing, and she tells you about God's love and forgiveness."

Our criminal justice system is far too screwed up for the politicians to fix it by themselves. People of goodwill must step forward to help, and that's a role that many Texas prison ministries fill. For my part, I'm glad they're there.

MORE: Another prison ministry story from The Back Gate.

4 comments:

Matt B said...

Hi Scott.

I'm interested in the use of the reentry facility/halfway home model to help prisoners reenter society. Do you know what kind of government assistance these programs receive?

Matt B said...

...or any advice for other states that might want to make it easier to open and run such facilities?

800 pound gorilla said...

Unfortunately, the most "successful" are the ones that keep the emotional dependency that caused the addiction intact. They just transfer the dependency to an authoritarian deity figure as depicted by the strong leadership of the church. Prisons are a strong recruiting ground for militant Islamic groups for instance.
A weak and shallow faith whose rewards are external [approval of the deity - as measured by leaders and strong congregational bonding] act as a substitute "drug culture". I believe that it was Marx [Groucho?] who stated that religion is the opiate of the masses. Anyway, any religion that has an abusive parental figure as a deity is only a marginal improvement over drug addiction.

Matt B said...

800 lb., I appreciate your view. But I'm also interested in secular programs, and in any case I'd rather see my guys in church than back where they were. And now's a good time to bring up reentry issues, at least here. Community corrections is pretty hot right now, and people's ears are open, at least in this part of the country.