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Visiting the Prisoners by Dr. Amy Levad

Few days ago I went to listen to a lecture about the incarceration. Dr. Amy Levad, a theologian who finished the justice studies gave this lecture. She talked about three main topics; social injustices, high crime and mass incarceration.

At the beginning of the talk she gave us some statistical numbers about crimes rates in and outside the United States of America. I learned that there are more than 2 million incarcerated people in the US and that US keeps 25% of world’s prisoners.

She talked a lot about African- Americans whose chances to be incarcerated before they turn 30 are 2/3. To my surprise, she said that crime rates of young African Americans have dropped and that they sell drugs at proportional rates to their representation in population. She mentions many social injustices which lead to incarceration and among them are; concentration of poverty, economic inequality, unemployment, inadequate health care, racial/ ethnic discrimination and failing education system. She talked about policy decisions that have contributed to mass incarceration, for example, war on drugs, end of parable, stricter sentencing guidelines, mandatory min. sentencing and three-strike sentencing.

This was the first part of her lecture. The second part had to do more with theology.
She was really concerned about people who get out from the prison and don’t have resources to change their lives (this is about 95% of them). She said that God wants us to see a person in prison, being either guilty or not, as Jesus. It was Jesus himself who convicted as criminal died on a cross. Jesus teaches us that we shouldn’t throw these prisoners away and that we should care about the life and dignity of human person because we were all created as image of God.

That is why we as family and community need to find ways to see why and who is excluded from the boundaries between a prisoner and his family, so when they go out they would not be...
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