“Hey babe! We’re releasing an inmate,” the prison warden spoke into his phone. “He’s coming to our town. No, he’s not safe at all … [We don’t let him] out for programs. He’s too dangerous, he might assault somebody. Anyway, he’s paroling to our city.
Did you know that a visit from a family member can reduce a prisoner’s chances of returning to prison by as much as 25 percent?
A 2012 publication from the American Correctional Association explains why: “Family members provide both social control and social support, which inhibit criminal activity.”
When I first arrived, I could only see the prisoners through the lens of their crimes. However, as I watched the assistant warden and interacted with the inmates myself, I realized that they are just like me. We are all broken sinners in need of redeeming grace. None of us is a statistic to the One who leaves the 99 to seek out the one lost sheep.