A report by The Urban Institute details some of the challenges ex-prisoners face when they are released from incarceration. Most often they have to rely heavily on family members for housing and support. Reconnecting with children is difficult. Employment is tough-hard to find and extremely low wages. More than half return to prison within three years, most often because of parole violations. Certainly, more equity within our judicial system would help to reduce these conditions. But there is also a role for people of God. Followers of Christ can help prevent incarceration by building values into children and youth to steer away from behavior that leads to prison. We can also assist those who are released. Long ago God expressed His concern for those without resources. In Leviticus 25 Moses urged God’s people to show kindness to foreigners and temporary resident but it is not a great leap in logic to include former prisoners. We can support groups like Prison Fellowship or one of the many church-sponsored ministries serving those who have paid their debt to society.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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