Is there a distinctly Christian view on crime and criminal justice in America today? Dr. Jim Seemann, District Correctional Ministry Coordinator, has been researching this question for well over a year. Together with Concordia University, Saint Paul, he has created a special convocation which raises this same question.
“Would you want to be judged based on your worst day?”
These words from Rev. Jim Liske:
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right….”
Now is the time followers of Jesus must take a stand for restorative justice and the reformation of the criminal justice system in America. For 40 years we have asked, “How do we get bad people out of our neighborhoods?” and as a result our prison population has increased from 230,000 to 2.3 million, and those who are released from prison don’t have what they need to succeed. It is now time to ask, “How do we bring good people home?” How can the people of God work to restore the hearts, lives, families, and communities of those incarcerated in our country?
God’s Word reveals that He has created everyone, including those behind bars, in His image, with divinely imputed dignity. Through His grace, He can take the most corroded, corrupted soul, and mold it for His purposes. Anyone who places their faith in God alone can be restored and realigned with His plan. Restorative justice, based on these convictions, brings hope to those who have caused harm, the victims of crime, and the communities that surround them. Popular opinion holds that those who break the law forfeit the chance to be free and to live in community with others, much less have our concern for their welfare and futures. But the Church of Jesus must advocate for the redemption of the incarcerated, just as Jesus advocates for people who, like you and me, would still be in spiritual prison without him.
Transforming Criminal Justice from the Inside Out
Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 pm at the Buetow Auditorium, Concordia University, Saint Paul
15 minutes each, then moderated Q&A with audience
Jim Liske: President/CEO, Prison Fellowship: Framing the broadly recognized problems of crime and incarceration (cost, overcrowding, broken communities), and the opportunities for transformation that these problems offer to the Church and university
Eddie Miles, Assistant Commissioner, MN Department of Correction: Transforming prison culture and prisoners from the inside out – how that is happening in Minnesota
Jesse Wiese, JD, Director of Ex-Offender Network, Prison Fellowship: Transforming the reentry process − ending incarceration at the prison door (introducing the Second Prison Project)