Spending more tax dollars on prisons is not the answer to averting crime or making our communities safer. And while more money needs to go into education, drug and mental health treatment, and other crime-prevention programs to help young people and ex-convicts lead productive lives, the ultimate answer is God’s answer–whereby redemption and peace is felt in each and every heart.
We don’t raise troublesome issues about our prisons and jails to be alarmists. We highlight issues that need our prayers.
And helping those behind bars to find new ways of thinking and being, in order to lead more productive lives, will require a HUGE effort to make this shift.
But persistent prayer is up to the task. Nothing is impossible to God, as the Bible reveals. Let’s take this at face value. And let’s remember that prayer at its essence reveals God’s thoughts to the listening heart. His answers produce the creativity, the insights, the breakthrough innovations and knowledge needed to reform our prison system and reform the heart of each and every inmate in our state prisons, county jails and youth facilities.
While Governor Brown’s inmate “realignment” plan isn’t perfect, it is reducing our prison populations by keeping lesser offenders in county facilities or on parole and, theoretically at least, strengthening drug abuse and other programs to cut down recidivism (return to crime) rates.
Sadly, our prisons remain overcrowded. That’s why the courts ruled June 20 that another 9,600 non-violent, low-risk prisoners be released, even though most of that population have already been released. The remaining, nearly 90 percent of the current prison population, are there for serious or violent felonies.
Can prayer heal them? The short answer is “yes”. It already has. And many of this state’s prison chaplains can testify to the many lives changed, and redeemed through persistent prayer, which includes healing and tenderizing the hearts of the baddest of the bad.
Our work, whether we’re guards, administrators, government officials, judges or chaplains, is to appeal to God for His readily-available answers. And then be willing to put “self-interest” out of the way to better listen and implement His directions.
We need enlightened efforts to solve our state’s prison problems. To solve overcrowding. To resolve poor inmate health issues. To reach our “at risk” youth in time to encourage them into a life of serving others on the right side of the law; and to reduce our state’s current recidivism rate of 65.1 percent, (the highest in the nation), by helping inmates find purpose, meaning and fulfillment on the “outside”.
But these enlightened efforts must, and will ultimately, come from prayer–from a source outside ourselves. Einstein famously said, “The mind that creates the problem cannot solve the problem”. How true. Let’s seek God’s answers. Healing our prisons is not beyond His skill or ability. Each of us, as God’s unique creation, is caused to know His thoughts. Directly. Intimately. Profoundly. His thoughts, when admitted, transform our character to be more in alignment with His. This is what will improve our efforts.
Our governor, and those serving us in our state’s prisons and jails, need our heartfelt prayers–so that they, like all of us, can better hear God’s wise and loving solutions.
This site, Lightinprison.org, has one purpose: to enable each of us, regardless of our religious or philosophical persuasions, to more effectively pray to hear (and witness) God’s thoughts and solutions for our youth, for our prisons; for those who serve us in them, and for those incarcerated.
So what is God revealing to you? Please share: