Imprisonment and Alternatives

Food for thought: in what way does preaching a punitive theology contribute to our staggering imprisonment trends, and ever more punitive collateral consequences (employment, housing, higher education) after the sentences are served?

The following are from August 14, 2009

  • One in 34 Americans is under some form of “correctional supervision” (probation, parole, in jail, prison, etc)  according to a Pew study
  • One in three black males can expect to go to prison if trends continue.
  • One in eleven prisoners are serving life sentences.
  • The number of women in prison, a third of whom are incarcerated for drug offenses, is increasing at nearly double the rate for men. These women often have significant histories of physical and sexual abuse, high rates of HIV infection, and substance abuse.
  • 1.17 million children have a parent in prison [May 7, 2009 (]
  • Children of incarcerated parents are measurably harmed and at greater risk  for many social ills [New York Times, July 4 2009]

We tend to support prisons and cut funds to re-entry programs, even though re-entry programs are pathways to recovery, creating taxpaying citizens and stopping a revolving door and a generational cycle of crime and punishment. Isn’t that’s in all our interests? See Father Peter Young’s www.pyhit and Father Greg Boyle’s for details about how jobs not jails is working on both coasts.  Both will be honored with Elfenworks’ In Harmony With Hope awards, October 15, 2009.

Categories Featured Articles, Justice Work, Stormy Issues | Tags: | Posted on December 15, 2009

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