David LaGrand is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and attends Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.
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Imprisoned by Poverty
I AM A CHRISTIAN. That means that I serve a savior who told us he came to free prisoners. At the same time, I live in a nation with more than 2 million prisoners, more than any country in the world.
I am also an affluent white person living in a country that unequally and selectively jails people of color and poor people. And I don’t just live in this country, I help govern it.
As a state representative in Michigan, I am responsible for this situation. The government directly chooses who goes to jail and who doesn’t. Of course, since our democracy practices government “of the people,” that makes all of us responsible for government actions.
How should Christians who are also citizens take action for justice in our law enforcement system? Responding to mass incarceration as Christians can seem daunting, but there are obvious places to begin. One of the clearest places our current system fails the test of equal treatment under the law is in the detention or release of those accused of, but not convicted of, a crime.