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Criminal Justice

The first public speech of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, an adaptation of Isaiah 61:1-2, declares his calling to “proclaim freedom for the prisoners.” In one of his final public speeches in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself with, among other groups, people in prison – “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” While […] Read More

My sister shared a moving testimony last week concerning what she witnessed at a recent funeral service. The deceased was an elderly woman who had committed her adult life to prison ministry. Sister Eva’s pastor shared, “I noticed that Sister Eva was only at worship service a few times a month. When I asked her […] Read More

“I know you wonder if all the conversions are real,” Joe said to our church council. He was right. The number of conversions reported by our prison minister (he was a part-time, contract minister) was amazing. “Even if one-tenth of them are real, this is worth it,” Joe declared. Legendary are the jailhouse conversions. Skeptics […] Read More

Incarceration is, by definition, a problem because its reason for being is a response to behavior outside the legal norms of a society. It is also an arena for many “problems within the problem” because of the challenges inherent in its application and management. Studies show the clear and well-known correlation of such factors as […] Read More

The number of persons with a severe mental illness (SMI) in U.S. jails is growing, requiring treatment services most jails are unprepared to offer, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts released on Jan. 24. “Although the central purpose of jails is to detain people who engage in criminal behavior and pose a […] Read More

U.S. prisons saw an overall population decline in 2016, continuing a three-year trend in both federal and state facilities, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report released on Jan. 9. Overall, there were 21,200 fewer prisoners in 2016 than in 2015, a 1 percent decline. This is an imprisonment rate of 450 per 100,000 […] Read More

Efficient and effective integration of healthcare with other rehabilitative initiatives is essential to reducing recidivism, according a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts released on Oct. 18. “Emerging research suggests that underlying health issues, particularly substance use disorders and mental illness, contribute to incarceration and recidivism, and that treatment, combined with seamless care continuity for […] Read More

Criminal justice reforms in 33 U.S. states have reduced the overall prison population, Pew Charitable Trust reported on its podcast, “After the Facts.” Crime rates also have declined. The U.S. prison population began expanding rapidly in the 1970s, peaking around 2007 with 1 in 100 persons being imprisoned, podcast host Dan LeDuc noted in his […] Read More

Substance abuse is “a major public health challenge,” according to “The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health.” Substance abuse or misuse is “the use of alcohol or drugs in a manner, situation, amount or frequency that could cause harm to the user or to those around them.” Key findings in the report include: […] Read More

President-elect Donald Trump offered positive statements after his victory. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” he said. “I mean that very sincerely.” Trump said, “Now it is time for America to bind […] Read More