Shame on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Prison Entrepreneurship Program for not accepting sex offenders (“Investing in Second Chances,” by Catherine Cuellar, July 2008). The author writes, “Being identified solely by the worst thing they’ve ever done undercuts the inmates’ self-esteem, and overcoming that isn’t easy.” How can no one see that denying sex offenders access to an important program such as PEP does exactly what the above quote says PEP attempts to avoid?
Catherine Rohr and Rev. Luis Romo view PEP as a ministry. To deliberately exclude sex offenders is not following Jesus’ commands to love thy neighbor as thyself or to not judge others lest ye be judged.
Sex offenders are no different than other felons facing difficult transitions to society upon being freed. I pray to read in a future Sojourners about ministries and initiatives like PEP that are open to all prisoners, regardless of their crime. Society and those released will be better for it.
Christopher W. Fuerst, Buckingham Correctional Center, Dillwyn, Virginia