What Not To Wear...To Prison

The friend that I have been visiting in jail was moved to state prison recently and I have not driven the three hours to see him yet.  I decided that today was going to be the day.  I read the state prison website several times this week being sure that I knew what I could and could not bring in, when to arrive, where to go etc.  I called the special hotline to make sure that no one was on lockdown and I wouldn’t be turned away after making the drive.

When I got to the dress code in the visitor information I paid special attention.  The rules are very specific.  No blue clothing, including jeans because that’s what the prisoners wear.  No khaki pants or green tops because that’s what the guards wear.  No orange.  Right when I started thinking I’d be safe with a long dress, I read No Mumus- apparently some women prisoners wear mumus.  Dresses can’t be shorter than 2 inches above the knee.  No revealing clothing.  Seems reasonable.  Oh, and don’t forget that it is going to be 80 degrees and creeping upward when you get there.  My clothing options narrowed as I read.

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Have You Ever Served With a Prison Ministry?

I do not read many blogs, because I simply do not have time. Like many of you, I sit at a computer for hours upon hours every day, but most of my work involves writing, connecting, moving forward. However, there are a few blogs I at least skim on a regular basis, and Desiring God's blog is on my short list. Today's post by John Piper is one of the reason's I need this in my life:

As Nice as They Let Me, As Mean as They Make Me
November 20, 2009  |  By: John Piper  |  Category: Commentary

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Remember Your Chains

After I watched the beautiful, young bride walk down the aisle an old Steven Curtis Chapman song came to my mind: “Remember your chains, remember the prison that once held you before the love of God broke through…” When I saw her glowing in her white gown, I was reminded of the girl all dressed in black whose heart was as hard as her eyeliner was thick when we met nine years ago.  Remembering her past and journey to freedom in Christ made her beauty shine even brighter.

 

The song came to mind again the next day as aI visited a friend in prison. He allowed himself a moment to dream about his release.  He admonished me to enjoy the freedom I have and spoke of what he will do to embrace life when he gets out.

The New Cotton Field




This is an excerpt from a documentary called American Drug War. It begins to uncover some of the deep issues that are cancerizing our 'hoods today. Take in the material before you cast judgment. There are some serious matters that we, as a faith body, must contend with.

Panopticon

I returned yesterday from a conference in Chicago. During a morning break I walked down the street to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, were I spent considerable time with an installation by Fiona Tan.

“Fiona Tan has arranged six video screens in a circle as a reference to eighteenth-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham's prison model that he termed the panopticon, which means "all-seeing." Bentham's circular building divided into cells allowed guards to anonymously survey inmates from a central tower, suggesting that the threat of being observed would keep prisoners under control. In Correction, this powerful gaze is reversed as prisoners and guards seem to watch viewers sitting in the center of the installation.” www.mcachicago.org

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Prison, Race, Consumerism, Me

        Did you know that the United States has the most people imprisoned per capita in the world? I mean the whole world, including Russia, China, Albania, wherever. According to the US Department of Justice annual report, on this very day about 2.3 million Americans are in prison. Add in people on probation, and the number is over 3% of our total population. The current rate is four times higher than in 1980. What? How can that be? Even more striking, 1 out of 10 young Black males are in prison. In fact, if you are a young Black male, you have a much better chance of going to prison than going to college. 10.4% of all black males between 25 and 29 years old are in prison, 1.3% of white males the same age. 75% of women imprisoned are single mothers. What’s going on?

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