Have you ever been to jail or prison? I (Sal) have so far (not as an inmate, but a visitor) and I already have met people who have (as inmates), which is why I decided to do this homepage about this ministry topic.
The stories I hear make me sad! However, the stories vary from region to region. The stories I hear from outside of the U.S. makes jails/prisons in the U.S. sound like "Disney World"-some to a certain extent!
I would like to first make my first opinion-I don't like capitol punishments (more down below) as a "minority". I personally feel there is too many social injustice where many (majority minorities) are being persecuted (socially and physically) as "innocent"! There are "innocent" people being killed because of not enough evidence or for prejudice/racial reasons!
I personally don't feel that capital punishment of the death penalty is "right" because of the innocence of those inmates that haven't been really proven "guilty". The law can be very corrupted by man and causes innocent people-especially "minorities" in our nation to be falsely accussed!
*Special Related Feature Story
Thu, 20 Apr 00 11:56AM MDT
To: BreakPoint by Charles Colson
Subject: [breakpoint] Forgiving the Dead Man Walking, 4/19/2000
BreakPoint Commentary #000419 - 4/19/2000
Forgiving the Dead Man Walking: Christianity's Unique Witness
by Charles Colson
Dead Man Walking's gripping portrayal of a man on death row made it one of the most powerful films to come out of Hollywood in recent memory. But believe it or not, it only told half the story -- and it left out the best part.
The power of Dead Man Walking was its portrayal of the inherent dignity and value of even a hardened criminal. But the story behind the story -- the story of the victim -- goes even further, depicting the uniquely Christian message of forgiveness.
Sixteen-year-old Debbie Morris was out on a date with her boyfriend, Mark, one Friday evening. After pizza and a movie, they stopped for milkshakes.
But when a stranger put a revolver to Mark's head, their pleasant night out turned into several hours of torture, rape, and attempted murder. It ended with Mark shot, but alive, and Debbie deeply wounded. But Debbie would not find true healing until she was able to comprehend and embrace the forgiveness only God can provide.
Although the film Dead Man Walking depicted Debbie's kidnappers as one man, there were actually two: Robert Lee Willie and Joe Vaccaro. They kidnapped and robbed them, leaving Mark for dead. Before releasing Debbie, they tormented and raped her repeatedly.
When the two men were captured, Vaccaro received five life sentences and, as the film showed, Willie was executed for his crimes -- he eventually admitted involvement in several murders, including butchering another girl.
But Debbie's anguish did not end when Willie was sentenced to die. Despite those who urged her to "get on with her life," her emotional ordeal continued. As Debbie writes in her book, Forgiving the Dead Man Walking, "Justice doesn't really heal all the wounds."
It was when Debbie found the grace to forgive Robert Willie, the day he was to be executed, that she finally knew release from suffering. In prayer -- for herself and for Willie -- she discovered that only God's grace is sufficient to bind up the wounds of the human heart.
Forgiveness, you see, is much more than telling ourselves that an offense just doesn't matter anymore. On the contrary, forgiveness recognizes the debt for what it is.
And it doesn't just liberate the debtor from his debt -- it transforms the heart of the one who forgives. In fact, forgiveness is an imitation of God's own act of forgiveness on the Cross. By forsaking what we are legitimately owed, we recognize that we, too, have been forgiven a debt we can never repay.
And that's why true forgiveness is both a beacon and a scandal to the secular mind.
Secular society has nothing that resembles the forgiveness that the Gospel makes possible, what Debbie Morris experienced.
And it simply cannot make sense of parents who would forgive the killers of their children, like those murdered at Columbine, so much in the news this week. Remember those scenes, so vivid on television? Of the parents forgiving Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. Of the crosses on the side of the hill. Their forgiving witness is an unmistakable presentation of the transforming love of the Gospel.
We may never be called to forgive an offense as grave as that inflicted on Debbie Morris -- or the families of Littleton, Colorado. But we must be prepared to forgive, not only for our own sakes, but for the sake of our Christian witness.
And when we do, we give the world something better than a good movie plot -- we give them a glimpse of The Greatest Story Ever Told.
A great resource on the topic of victims and forgiveness is the new book from Neighbors Who Care, entitled "God and the Victim", edited by Lisa Barnes Lampman -- with a foreword by Chuck Colson. Find it on our website at http://www.breakpoint.org .
SPECIAL BROADCAST: We are rebroadcasting Chuck’s 1999 Easter Special “Light in the Darkness” this weekend! “Light in the Darkness” was recorded live in the New Jersey State Penitentiary last Easter. Go to http://www.icrn.com/Breakpoint , beginning Saturday, to listen.
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For more on forgiveness...
I decided to do some research on the heated national political debate. I was asking God myself, which he ironically led me to this chapter in the Bible...
"And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening."-Joshua 10
""Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."-Matthew 26:52
....adopted-Guatemalan, who lived with me from 2001-2003 asked me recently (4/12/04) for help. Particularly is praying for $200 to cover travel cost to Atlanta, GA for this rehab ministry (called "Blood & Fire") opportunity given by a Burnsville church connection with Lake Community Church in Alexandria. If you would like to be an answer to this prayer through financially, please contact email@example.com.
Mail Check payable to "Blood N' Fire":
Attn: Paul Styene
471 Bryan St SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
What is Blood N' Fire? (homeless shelter
-From the Heart, a music CD
"Prison Outreach" Group of Men (must be over +21) went to minister to some of the 1,200 maximum prison (Prairie Correctional Facility-CCA) population in Appleton (Swift County), MN (1 hour west of Morris-map) by playing basketball, board games, etc… every other Mondays for awhile in 1998-1999.
Note: During the time we went there in 1998-1999, there were prisoners from Hawaii and Wisconsin
Contact: Neil, who currently goes there every other Mondays of Morris Community Church
The Appleton prison shouldn't be funded, James Bordewick Editor-in-Chief (UMM Register)
"Private prisons exacerbate the prison epidemic, creating more economic demand for crime. The number of prisoners in the US is already increasing at an alarming rate. In 1970, the United States had 300,000 prisoners. Today's current levels are at approximately two million. Even adjusting for population, the levels of incarceration have increased over 40 percent. As a portion of the worldwide total of eight million convicts, the US has five percent of the total population, and 25 percent of the world's convicts.">
Lack of Correctional Services
"Appleton is a small farming community located in southwestern Minnesota, about20 miles east of the South Dakota border. The town was established in 1872 when thesettlers built a flour mill and a schoolhouse on the banks of the Pomme de Terre River.By the 1880s the town had become the area’s major distribution point for farmmachinery. Sustained by a booming farm economy founded on the production of wheatand the sale of farm machinery, Appleton thrived for a century until low grain prices andthe economics of corporate agriculture brought that era to a close. With foreclosures offamily farms and a population exodus to other communities to find jobs, farm equipmentstores were shuttered and the town appeared to be relegated to an inexorable decline.The Appleton City Coordinator, Bob Thompson, chased after a variety ofeconomic development schemes to restore the town’s employment base. Thompsonpursued plans for a gambling casino and a furniture manufacturing plant, before hittingon the prison development idea in 1989. By the spring of 1990, Thompson had recruiteda corporate board of directors to finance construction of the $28 million private prisonthrough sale of $5,000 revenue bonds. The prison development board would operateunder the aegis of the city council, with profits, if any, accruing to the city treasury. The -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 4 board was headed up by Mark Stromswold, the local “Culligan Man.” Major investorsincluded IDS Financial Services in Minneapolis, as well as the banks with local branchoffices in Appleton.The project developer was Dominion Leasing, an Edmund, Oklahoma-basedgroup that had gained the necessary experience through development of the nation’s firstcity-owned private prison in its home state. The firms that provided planning andarchitectural design were also Oklahoma-based, as was the construction contractor. Theoriginal proposal envisioned operation of 472 beds, a staff of 160, and a $3 millionannual payroll. Construction of the Prairie Correctional Facility was begun in November1990, with the opening slated for June 1992.Section 241.021, Minnesota Statutes, requires that the Minnesota Department ofCorrection inspect and license all facilities, public or private, for detention orconfinement of persons in the state. The city applied for and received a license to operatethe new facility as a medium security prison. The license required that the prisonmaintain at least a partial staff of 80 on the payroll before it could open for business. Nocontracts to house prisoners had been secured, however, and the facility was operatedwithout a revenue source at a loss of nearly $10,000 a day for more than 10 months.7In January 1993, the Appleton Prison Corporation officials approachedMinnesota’s governor with a blanket offer to either provide prison beds on a contractbasis, or to lease or sell the facility to the state. But Minnesota DOC managers had prisonexpansion plans of their own, already well underway, involving conversion of regionaltreatment centers at Moose Lake and Faribault. The offer was quickly declined.The following month the prison development board defaulted on a total of $1.5million in interest and principal payments which had come due. By this time the spectacleof a prison running on empty attracted international attention. Appleton was flooded withmedia, including reporters from both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.Michael Moore filmed a segment of his TV Nation show at the prison site, interviewingcorrectional officers and townspeople about the empty facility.Finally, in March of 1993, the board secured a three-year contract to houseprisoners from Puerto Rico. The start-up problems common to other “spec” prisons wereequally evident in early operations at the Appleton prison: prison officials were willing totake whatever inmates they could get; insufficient information from the Puerto Ricocorrections department impeded proper classification of prisoners; and inexperiencedstaff grappled with very seasoned, difficult prisoners. Added to this volatile mix werecultural and language issues stemming from the complete lack of familiarity betweenprison staff and prisoners. DOC licensing inspectors complained that the facility wasunderstaffed and lacked Spanish-speaking officers.8The experience over the next 19 months with these prisoners was extremelydifficult. There were riots. The FBI investigated allegations by ex-employees thatprisoners had been beaten and abused by a “Special Operations Response Team” wearing -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 5 black face masks. Within the same time frame, four wardens were hired and terminatedby the city.9By August 1994, a fifth warden, Hoyt Brill, had been recruited from Colorado,and a second contract had been secured to house prisoners from that state. By October,287 prisoners had been received from Colorado, and 100 more were on the way whenAppleton city officials decided to evict the Puerto Ricans, demanding that thegovernment of Puerto Rico remove them as soon as possible. Puerto Rican officialsmanaged to obtain a temporary restraining order to block removal of their prisoners, butultimately they were removed.Minnesota DOC officials expressed concern that housing units were not properlystaffed to accommodate the influx of new prisoners, sufficient vocational programs werenot available to them, and again, in-coming prisoners were not being screened withproper classification methods. They placed a temporary ban on acceptance of moreinmates until these problems were addressed.10After the removal of convicts from Puerto Rico the operational crises subsidedsomewhat. However, in July 1996, the Appleton Development Corporation remained indefault on the prison bonds, owing $26.7 million principal debt and $9.7 million inunpaid interest. Eventually Warden Brill was able to secure a multi-million dollar “bail-out” deal with the Corrections Corporation of America that allowed the non-profitcorporation to make good its obligation to the bond-holders on their original investment,with a one percent return. As part of the deal, CCA was granted rights for a $25 millionexpansion of the facility as they assumed operations. The same year, PCF was finallyable to secure a small contract to house Minnesota state prisoners under fundingexpressly appropriated for that purpose by the Minnesota legislature. A contract wasdrawn up for 95 beds at $55 per day.By the winter of 1998, when the University of Minnesota research teamconducted interviews with prisoners, CCA was housing inmates from a number ofdifferent state and federal sources and the daily prison population at PCF had reached1,250. Seventy were held under the contract with the Minnesota DOC. Almost 1,000were prisoners shipped in from Colorado, and the remainder were housed under contractswith Hawaii, North Dakota, and the US Marshals Service. About 2,700 Minnesotaprisoners were being held at the three medium-security public prisons, where theprisoners that comprised the matched comparison group were confined"
Burnsville-Blood & Fire (Atlanta, GA)
Forgiving the Unforgivable: Restorative Justice
"A woman, backed by a Lutheran church, works with prisoners to provide restorative justice. In the video, a man who shoots a mother and father"s son works steps with the victim"s family towards healing and forgiveness"
*see South Dakota
Dan Lirette testimony from Crime to Christ
"Dan Lirette was Born Again and Spirit Filled while yet a youth; his date of Salvation was October 27th, 1992, at the Madawaska Regional Correctional Center for youth, presently housing adults. From his pre-teen years until his conversion, Dan�s lifestyle was one of criminal behavior and wicked attitude of heart. Upon conversion, Dan�s life took a dramatic change from that of a criminal to that of a genuine Christian and also to that of a productive citizen. The change was so profound that Probation Services in Moncton NB, Canada, in conjunction with the New Brunswick Community College requested that Dan Lirette speak, via Campus College Radio, to several NBCC campuses across New Brunswick�rather than uplift the rehabilitaion services of the Canadian Justice System, Dan immediately, upon a student asking why his lifestyle had changed so instantly, replied, �It was neither the prison programs or any other Canadian Justice System program which caused my life to change�.it was Jesus Christ alone.� After being released early from the maximum security prison due to good behavior, Dan began studying the Scriptures from many various perspectives, from that of Fundamentalism right over into the Word of Faith Movement�s teachings and practices! Dan�s personal doctrinal stance is that of a Charismatic Fundamentalist, joining hands, so to speak, with those of genuine Biblical Faith, and crying out against those of a counterfeit type-faith. Called, equipped and licensed as a Minister under a reputed independant/non denominational Fellowship, Dan oversees the general functions of In Christ Ministries, allowing for the diversity of denominational affiliation with ICM while at the same time not allowing for Doctrinal compromise. That being said, we do not fail to mention a short time in Dan�s younger life where a brief �exodus�, so to speak, took place in which he was entangled in several cultic teachings (Word Of Faith) under the guise of Christianity; that said, he also strayed from fellowship and intimacy with the Lord for a time, having become disillusioned in what he thought was true Christianity, and to what he later learned to be a counterfeit meant to cause him to fall in his walk with Jesus Christ. Now, in this present time, at almost 30 years of age, Dan�s area of Ministry is varied, having earned several certifications, both in the secular field (trade) and in the Biblical field�yet, his personal �favorite� is Theological Study, Evangelism, Revival and Discernment, preferring above all, however, to preach the Gospel and see lost man come into relationship with Jesus Christ!"
Son of Sam/Son of Hope Part1
"The powerful testimony of David Berkowitz featuring evangelist Steve Hill. The one thing that many can not and will not accept is that David, because of his confession of sin, has received the gift of eternal life. See David's new website at www.AriseandShine.org Special thanks to Jerri for sharing this video for the GodTube community to view"
"This is a great film which almost completely accuratley shows the Son of Sam murders. I know, i was so impressed by the portrayal of Sam in the movie that I looked up David Berkowitz- the Son of Sam- and realized that Mr. Lee had taken every line and murder sequence word for word and scene for scene from the actual events. Spike Lee makes Berkowitz look like a sick man and even gets into the head of Berkowitz so deeply that at times you start to thin your crazy. Although the Son of Sam murders are only the backdrop for the main story of which is the story of a Bronx neighborhood where drugs and prejudice of those who are different reside. When it is discovered that the Son of Sam is attacking near neighborhood these factors become larger as everyone who isn't a "regular" Itallian American becomes a suspect"
"Thriller" (original upload)
"1,500 plus CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines at practice! This is not the final routine, and definitely not a punishment! just a teaser."
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