My friend, Elizabeth Evans (I call her Bits), sent me an article in a newspaper she reads that benefits homeless people in Tennessee. The article is titled: Outside the Prison Wall: Why a former prison chaplain became a prison abolitionist.
Common Ground is, amongst other things, a ministry to prison folks. This started about 10 years ago when I was struggling to make sense of my own felony.
As Amanda, the chaplain, says, “… people would come in to work with prisoners, enter into relationships, build community, and be overwhelmed when what they found was love, understanding and humility.” When people give me the “Oh, that’s so noble…” business when they hear about our prison outreach program – I smile and tell them it’s not particularly noble to do something that heals our soul and which, I believe, can help heal this society which puts a premium on retribution.
Forgiveness and reconciliation require we encounter our own perpetrator hearts and our own bee lines to denial. The fact is, when the gig’s up and we get exposed for who are and what we’re each capable of we’ll know why some have been saying it doesn’t help to throw people in cages and turn the bottom line for mass incarceration over to CEO’s… nobility is in restorative justice.