The book I read to better understand and gain sympathy for returning citizens is Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (ISBN 978-1439153154) by Father Gregory Boyle, S.J. $14 can afford this 240-page autobiography about a Jesuit priest serving one of the most troubled neighborhoods in the most unique way.
Fr. Boyle, ordained as a priest in 1982, began his work in Los Angeles, California in 1988 after noticing how the rampant criminal activities were breaking apart the community and families. Through relentless effort, “boundless compassion,” and the help of some key people, he was able to found Homeboy Industries. The youth program provides employment and support services to former gang members and high-risk youth. He received the California Peace Prize, the “humanitarian of the Year” Award from Bon Appétit, the Caring Institute’s 2007 Most Caring People Award, and 2008 Civic Medal of Honor from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.1 In 2010, his book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion was published and joined the New York Times Bestseller list.
The book is a collection of stories that Fr. Boyle experienced or heard during his time with Homeboy Industries. He explicitly tells in the Preface he does not want the book to be a memoir or a “How to deal with gangs” book. Rather, his intentions are clear in the title of the book: to show the power of boundless compassion he experienced and displayed. Through a series of stories of the youth he took care of, troubles he faced from the neighborhood and local authorities, the impact he and Homeboy Industries have created, and the deaths of people close to him, Fr. Boyle wants to cause the readers to feel sympathy and urgency for not only the situation in Los Angeles, but also similar situations near us.
The development in the book is topical and divided into chapters. He reveals from the very first chapter that this book cannot avoid...