There are few scenes quite as serene and peaceful as an expanse of green grass, shaded by a stately oak tree. The bucolic imagery has the ability to calm and comfort, transporting people from their everyday struggles, if only for a few fleeting moments.
Charles* is a prisoner who is serving a long sentence in a state prison. He attended weekly Bible study in the prison, not because he had any interest in God, but because the Bible study gave him some social time with outside folk who “spoke” his language—American Sign Language (ASL)—and it broke the boredom of his daily routine.
“Justice that restores. What does that mean? Who are we restoring? Where are we restoring them to?”
Prison Fellowship President and CEO James Ackerman asks these questions to a recent gathering of volunteers in Tampa, Florida. The answer, he suggests, can be found in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Learn to do right.
It was inevitable. It seemed Eric Cockream was destined for destruction.
A father’s suicide. A mother’s disastrous remarriage. A passionate young man who gave in to the allure of ecstasy. One series of compromises after another. Finally, a kidnapping charge that carried with it a 15 years to life sentence.
Through interviews woven into a one-hour special, the life of a young man named Tourrie Moses unfolds onscreen.
And then it unravels.
The One That Got Away aired on select PBS stations for Spotlight Education, a week of programming on today’s education system and the challenges American students face, according to PR Newswire.
“Generation to generation, it all stems from me.”
The lament of Sheldon Johnson, Sr. is a familiar one for many families stuck in a cycle of crime and incarceration. A deaf child raised by parents who showed little interest in communicating with him, Johnson struggled with feelings of inadequacy and nonacceptance.
For Prison Fellowship Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Craig DeRoche, justice reform is more than a job, it’s a passion developed from personal experience.
At the age of 34, DeRoche was elected Speaker of the House in the Michigan State Legislature—the youngest person to ever hold that position.
When Dr. James Gilligan started work as a prison psychiatrist in a medium-security facility in Massachusetts, he took with him a pre-formed perspective on the men he would be treating.
“I had been taught up to that point that violent criminals were untreatable sociopaths, that they would manipulate you,” he remembers.
“What happens after the 50th landlord tells you that you can’t rent an apartment because of your record, or the 50th employer explains that their company doesn’t hire ‘felons’?”
Christopher Poulos, executive director of Life of Purpose Treatment at the University of North Texas, asks this in a piece for The Bangor Daily News.
When applicants to one of the State University of New York’s (SUNY) 64 campuses apply for admission, they are required to answer question 20a: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” The question has proven to be a major hurdle for men and women with criminal records, with three of five of such applicants dropping out of the application process before reaching its conclusion.