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Ransom the Captive/Visit the Imprisoned

“I was in prison, and you visited me.”  Matthew 25:36

Prison can seem like a remote place not connected with our real lives until we learn about someone’s son, daughter or other family member who is behind bars.  No matter where we live or how much we earn, we probably know someone with a family member in prison.  That’s when it becomes more real.

Free the Captives - St.John's Church at Creighton UniversityIf we have a family member who is incarcerated, visit as often as possible.  The person convicted of a crime still needs support and love from home, and receiving mail or visits when possible, are a key to that support. 

We might support a prison ministry in our area with donations of our time, money and/or needed supplies. I could offer a gift subscription to a prison library or organize a book drive for it.  Offer support to retreat programs held in prisons.

If I speak another language, I can check out prison visitation programs for immigration detainees and visit those people who isolated from their families and countries. 

Discovering the Human Person

In her book Mercy in the City, author Kerry Weber wrote about her experience of visiting San Quentin prison.  She recalled her own pre-conceptions in an interview when she said, “I expected to visit prisoners or criminals -- but I didn’t expect to visit fellow human beings.” That same surprise of humanity is often the experience of visitors who remember how grateful those in prisoners are for a visit.  “They kept saying ‘thank you,’” one woman said.

Sr. Helen Prejean who ministers to those in jail as well as their victims has said, “People are more than the worst thing they have ever done in their lives.”

The US Bishops released a statement Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, writing, “A Catholic approach begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victim and offender.”

Studying this subject could prompt me to become informed about prison issues in my own area, nationally or internationally.  I can respond to Pope Francis’ call to support the “abolition of the death penalty.”

Let us Hear From You

Have more ideas on Ransoming the Captive/Visiting the Imprisoned? Send them here

From Sue K.:
I've been writing people in prison for over thirty years.  Today, there are many websites where you can find people who want someone to write to them. If writing a "criminal" is scary, contact the Innocence Project, or theSouthern Poverty Law Center for a name. 
One thing I became aware of in doing this is the incredible loneliness of the guys I've written to, and how honest the guys have been about what they did that got them  there. 

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