*Why Won’t the Church Proclaim Freedom for the Prisoners? (Where’s the Justice?)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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>A publicly traded corrections management company recently took a financial gamble and built a new multi-million dollar prison facility in Pennsylvania without any government contracts on the table. Within six months of opening they were filled to capacity, half of the inmates being drug use offenders shipped in from Washington DC.

>In Baltimore city most crime is committed by juvenile defenders between the hours of 4 and 10 pm. Schools in Baltimore city are closed promptly at the end of the school day, with chains on the doors. There is no money available for after school programs in Baltimore yet millions in local, state and federal moneys are being spent on expanding the overcrowded prisons and jails.

>In the period between 1980 and 2000 the state of Maryland increased spending on prisons by 101% while the expenditures for higher education rose only 22%. (In California it was 201% for prisons versus 1% on schools!)

>In 2000 the non-white population of the USA contributed to 30% of the general population while they made up over 70% of the Federal Prison Population.

>54% of the inmates in Federal prisons in 2000 were drug offenders

>On a percentage basis drug use among non-white USAmericans is no higher than the drug use of white USAmericans.

>There are three times as many people incarcerated in the USA today as there were in 1980. (When the nation’s “War on Drugs” began.)

>The USA (aka “the Land of the Free”) has the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation in the world, more than both Russia and China.

>The violent crime rate in America has steadily dropped. It stands at the lowest since the late 1970’s!.

(All this information is readily found on the internet but if asked I will provide you with references)

It would appear that perhaps the church should be spending a bit more time addressing these particular areas of concern. The evidence tends to suggest that the biggest threat to family values is coming from a direction other than where we are currently looking. (I guess it would depend upon which families we value the most.) Obviously the standard modern practice of attempting to legislate morality, criminalizing those who do not comply and then proceeding to punish them in an old testament fashion is failing. It is probably even contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus said he came to free the prisoners, not just those whom we have determined to have paid their ‘debt’ to society. Something is terribly wrong when the largest “Christian” nation on earth has so many people forcibly detained under such damnable conditions.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

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