Reason #1 - Biblical
“For I was in prison and you came to visit me…when did we see you [in prison] and go to visit you?...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25:36-40
Reason #2 - Reformation John Wesley, prison reformer late 18th Century England
- Raised money to procure clothing and blankets for French prisoners of the Seven Years War detained in English jails,
- In a period of nine months he preached at least 67 times in various jails
- He raised money to buy linen and wool cloth to make clothes and distributed to the prisoners in greatest need.
- He encouraged all his preachers to visit and to minister to the needs of prisoners.
- His brother, Charles, spent time visiting prisons.
Reason #3 - Restorative Justice
- Caring and allowing for correcting the reason for crime
- ‘Cradle to Prison Pipeline’ (Children’s Defense Fund)
- Caring and allowing for correcting the reason of being a victim
- Allows for forgiveness and reconciliation where appropriate
- ‘Chance to make things right’ (Zehr, Restorative Justice, 34)
- Communities are strengthened and healed
- Early interventions
- Post justice
Reason #4 - Social Justice- United Methodist Book of Discipline
- Emphasizes ‘Restorative Justice’ believing “through God’s transforming power…seeks to repair the damage…” and that ‘the Church is transformed when it responds to the claims of discipleship by becoming an agent of healing and systemic change”.
- Opposes the Death Penalty in that it “denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings…’ that ‘…all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore, we must see all human life as significant and valuable”. By taking the life of someone “then the life of the convicted person is devalued and all possibility of change in that person’s life ends …the possibility of reconciliation with Christ” is taken away