The Christian Case for Criminal Justice Reform
I think my history with my now-deceased mom helps explain my sympathy with our nation’s two and a half million prisoners. Occasionally my mom was among them. She was, as you can tell, a troubled person. I hated being identified with her as a kid. But she was the only mom I had.
All the people behind bars are somebody’s mom, dad, son, daughter, friend. I can’t forget that. But as Christians, we have an even more compelling reason not to keep our vast prison population out of sight and out of mind. Jesus gave us surprisingly few direct commands, if you count them up. One of them—given in the form of a parable about the judgment, but nevertheless uncomfortably clear—was to visit those in prison. Other parts of the New Testament command us to pray for those in prison. I dare say few of our churches practice this. Careful if you start.
— Jason Byassee, “Prisons and the Body of Christ,” Christianity Today Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2010.