The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world — about 1.6 million people in 2010. Mass incarceration in our country is a problem, one that too often serves to line the pockets of for-profit prisons while tearing families apart and targeting people of color disproportionately.
Beyond Bars — a project to curb mass incarceration in the U.S. — produced the following video that puts faces to that problem. Watch the moving video below, and ask yourself the question: would putting them in prison serve the common good?
Jesus coupled himself with the least in society when he said: “I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:36 ESV). It’s no surprise: imprisonment was not unheard of for the early church. Paul penned many New Testament letters while he was in custody.
And Psalm 102 reminds us that God’s heart goes out to the interned. “From heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die.”
A concerning trend of late has been the growth of “for profit” prisons. Spearheaded by companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the goal is to relieve states of the job of running prisons. Almost half of American prisoners are currently held in privately run prisons.