In prison, Rubin lost his hope and his sense of personhood. He lashed out in pain, until one officer took the time to listen and show him grace.
“Do you want the man getting out of prison to be in the pew next to you—or in the alley behind you?”
That was the question posed to me the other day by a prisoner I will call Tom. Tom has served over 30 years behind bars and is currently incarcerated at State Correctional Institution—Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania.
Cindy Sanford is the author of Letters to a Lifer: The Boy ‘Never to be Released.’ Visit her website at letters2alifer.blogspot.com.
“Javier,* what has happened to your heart?” I asked. I brushed tears from my eyes as I glanced away from his tightly cuffed wrists.
The week of April 10-16 has been declared National Volunteer Week—a time to honor and appreciate men and women who are making a difference in the lives of others. Prison Fellowship is greatly appreciative of all those who offer their time and efforts on behalf of prisoners and their families, whether they are mentoring and training prisoners, providing support to children and family members of those behind bars, or offering prayer and encouragement to those affected by crime and incarceration.
The following column originally appeared in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, a national news site that covers juvenile justice issues daily, and appears here with permission.
The other day I visited a young black man from Philadelphia doing time for an armed robbery.