A few years ago, a prisoner at Pocahontas State Correctional Center sent a carefully typed message to the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, asking what the famous university could do to help him find employment.
Dr. Nance is on a mission to reach out to prisoners' children, thousands of whom live near her in Illinois’s Cook County.
Leigh Littrell sat in the local county jail parking lot, praying her heart out. Lord, she asked, as she tried to get ready to assist teaching a class to female inmates, help me see these women through Your eyes. Give me your love for them, because I can’t do it in my own strength!
Jeffery Hopper has a picture of himself and his daughter, Amanda, sitting on the couch when she was just a little girl.
“She adored me. I was her world,” Jeffery remembers. “I destroyed it by going to prison.”“We’ll All Go Down Together”
Jeffery grew up in Port Neches, Texas, where he adopted a criminal lifestyle early on.
One dark night in January, a cold drizzle enshrouds the California Institution for Women. But inside the education wing, one room overflows with light, life, and joy.
Cynthia Tilley has a black-and-white photograph of her, her brother, and her father. She doesn’t remember the occasion, but she believes it must have been taken at their Texas home around Christmastime. Wrapped gift boxes surround the father and his two tiny children.
Prison can be a dark place, full of dangerous personalities and corrosive influences. Inmates who want to follow Christ must fight against a tide that threatens to push them back into old behaviors and thought patterns. Other inmates might be curious about Jesus, but, cynical about the value of “religion,” they balk at the idea of attending a chapel service.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of prisoners who otherwise couldn’t provide Christmas gifts for their children do so through Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program. In 2012, some Arizona prisoners decided to give back—in the amount of $3,300.
La Palma Correctional Center, a prison privately operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, houses 3,100 men in several compounds.
Burl Cain, a member of Prison Fellowship’s board of directors and the long-serving warden of Angola Prison, was recently interviewed by the Acton Institute for an article appearing on its website. Since Cain took over Angola in 1995, it’s gone from being “the bloodiest prison in America” to one of the most revolutionary.