Kate Campbell is a summer intern with Prison Fellowship, working with Inside Journal. She is currently studying photojournalism at Boston University.
It’s not every day you get to meet a former vice-presidential candidate.
However, the interns at Prison Fellowship Ministries had the privilege to meet with Rep. Paul Ryan as part of our busy day on Capitol Hill.
To start off the morning, we gathered early in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress to take a tour, stopping to admire the room we all recognized from the “National Treasure” sequel. Later, we sat in the Supreme Court.
But, the highlight of our whole trip was meeting with Reps. Bobby Scott and Paul Ryan. Though we only spent about 10 minutes each with them, we talked with them about incarceration rates, crime, and sentencing reform.
“It was incredible to see how congressmen from both parties are united in working to restore communities,” said Kelsa, a fellow intern.
Justice Fellowship intern David said meeting with Rep. Scott “was a great reminder that, despite [the public’s] cynicism about Congress, there are many individual leaders hard at work fighting for us there.”
David also enjoyed meeting with Rep. Ryan, who recently co-sponsored the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill that Justice Fellowship is advocating. Ryan had previously taken a difference stance on sentencing, but his “listening tour” around the country opened his eyes to the collateral consequences of mass incarceration.
“Ryan said that being a Congressman requires a willingness to learn and even change your mind,” David recalls. “If only more of our leaders had that kind of open mind and humility!”
Our day on the Hill reminded us that we are a small part of a greater movement toward bettering the lives of those impacted by crime and incarceration, and that even a few interns can make a big difference.
To learn more about advocating for restorative justice at the state and national levels, visit Justice Fellowship’s website. Or, click here to learn more about the Prison Fellowship Ministries internship program.