Support the Café

Search our Site

Priest urges communities to welcome those leaving prison

Priest urges communities to welcome those leaving prison

Rev. William H. Barnwell of New Orleans is an Episcopal priest active in Kairos Prison Ministry International. He writes in the Times-Picayune of the need for churches and civic organizations to do more to welcome back to the community those who have served their time, as they struggle to find jobs and housing. Barnwell writes:

Often, they are not able to find housing, and the families who are willing to take them in sometimes can’t, because there is no room. Worst of all, our returning citizens face a culture of shame, as they try to find a new life for themselves.

When military personnel returned from imprisonment in Vietnam, from the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” we, as a people, knew just how hard the transition back home would be. At our best, we effectively helped them make that transition. It is just as hard, harder, for men and women returning from years and years in our state prisons and jails. Not only do they face shame, they are often stunted in their ability to make good decisions, for in prison practically all decisions are made for them.

I am well aware of the argument that comes back at me: “You are coddling these people. You give them financial help of any kind, and they’ll just use it to invest in more drugs, more crime.” But I am not talking about that kind of help.

Read his column here and let us know of successful efforts to re-integrate ex-offenders into society after they’ve served their time.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café