Monday, 19 November 2012

Prisoners Week

Somehow a whole year has gone by and we are at Prisoners Week again, or Prisons Week if you're in Englandshire.  Here is the link to the Prisoners Week Scotland website if you want to know more.  Credit to Jon Birch, the artist behind the cartoon.

If you are a prisoner, every week is prisoners week.  The purpose of it is really for those outside, especially for folk in Churchworld.  It is all about reminding people about the otherwise out of sight and out of mind (the whole point of those big walls) because Jesus told us that one of the questions at judgement Day will relate to prisoners - see Matthew 25: 31-46.  And elsewhere (Hebrews 13:3) we're told we've to remember those in prison as if we were in prison ourselves.

Lots of people hate prisoners.  I know this because I am sufficiently obsessed with my job that I read a lot of newspaper articles online, and the comments left by Joe Public.  Sometimes I argue back but mostly I just observe.  Lots of keyboard warriors will insist at length or more often bluntly and rudely that prison should be far harder than it is and that we should throw away the key.  And so on.

I would argue that (a) even if you do hate prisoners, you should want time and money spent on rehabilitation in order to prevent you and yours becoming future victims, and (b) if you're a Christian you're not allowed to hate them because you're not allowed to hate anyone and you've to love them because you've to love everyone.

Christians who read this might like to adopt our official Prisoners Week prayer.  Say it every day this week if you can, but if not please say it and mean it once.  Thank you SO much.

The Prisoners Week Prayer:
Lord, you offer freedom to all people.
We pray for those who are held in prison.
Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.
Support with your love: prisoners, their families and friends,
prison staff, chaplains and all who care.
Heal those who have been wounded by the activities of others,
especially the victims of crime.
Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, to love mercy,
and walk humbly together with Christ
in his strength and in his Spirit,
now and every day. Amen.


Alistair said...

A really important week! Puts focus on prisons ina more positive way than is often the case.

I get very frustrated with people's views on prisons/prisoners. The fact that few people seem to realise that anyone of us can find ourselves in prison. A car accident can lead to criminal charges and even a custodial sentence (as an example). I've found that often people's views of prison change when they or their family come to be affacted by prison; I'm not sure if you have seen that as well.

The number of discussions I have had with Christians who have adopted a tabloid style mentality to prisons and prisoners is depressing.

The way society reacts to and treats prisoners breaks my heart. At best some view them as second-class citizens and at worst non-human.

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