When Gus (a pseudonym) went to prison, Ronald Reagan was president. New episodes of M.A.S.H. were still airing, and Steve Jobs was getting ready to launch the Macintosh personal computer.
But Gus is getting out soon. Understandably, he’s feeling a mixture of fear and elation sometimes known as “gate fever.” He can’t wait for freedom, but his family members are estranged or dead, and he has no work history.
Frederick Hutson had a plan.
While serving 51 months in prison on drug charges, Hutson saw firsthand the struggles that prisoners had staying in touch with family members. He knew the disproportionate costs prisoners were paying just to talk on the phone with loved ones.
I just got a letter from Lauren, a woman in Oregon who is finishing her prison sentence and finding great joy as she participating in Prison Fellowship® programs. Thanks to her relationships with Prison Fellowship volunteers, she’s better prepared to go back to her community as a follower of Jesus.
In recent years, California’s prisons have seen intense overcrowding — to the point that federal judges ruled the quality of life in violation of prisoners’ civil rights.
In 2011, Governor Brown introduced a reduction plan that included moving prisoners with nonviolent charges to county jails and probation centers.
Much has been written in this blog about Warden Burl Cain. (See here, here, and here for examples). During his nearly two decades at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the prison has shed its reputation as the “bloodiest prison in America,” and has become a model for other prisons seeking to reduce violent assaults among prisoners.