Faith and Law Lecture 2018
CLADC and Prison Fellowship partnered to host the 2018 Faith & Law Lecture: The Intersection of Poverty, Incarceration, and Criminal Justice this July.
The Lecture featured a panel of Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Anacostia-based Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, long-time community-activist Robert Woodson, and community member Stephen Smith, who was formerly incarcerated, but is now a productive member of society.
The discussion explored why Christians should care about poverty and those impacted by incarceration. Panelists discussed mistakes we've made as a country in regards to criminal justice policy and solutions to equip people to get out of poverty and leave a criminal lifestyle, along with other topics. Here are a few powerpoints from the discussion:
• Jesus commanded us to care for those less fortunate than us. We should care about the poor and the incarcerated because Jesus cares about these people!
• 90% of people who go to prison will come back out- we need to address skills, mental health issues, education, addictions, and the other issues and factors that got them there. We cant wait until they're about to leave to start to address these issues.
• Family and friend connections are big in helping to keep freed inmates from returning to jail. Investing in a child within the first 5 years is crucial for early development, formation of neural pathways, future academic performance, etc. You don't have to fall victim to your surroundings.
• How do we eliminate turbulence among poor communities? Churches need to give priority to family constructs and structures, foster good marriages etc.- but be careful not to injure people with the helping hand. Allow people to be their own agent of uplift.
• Don't focus on the failures of poor people. Instead, look at their capacity and resilience! Studying failure will only make you an expert on how to fail! In order to instill hope we must first provide help.
• Preach-Jesus died for ALL sins. We need to preach the redemptive and restorative message of Christ so people can be transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. This will allow them to then go onto preaching to others.
• Pray- we need to be people of prayer. We do our best work on our knees. The greatest power we have is seen when we bend and bow. Some battles are only won through prayer and fasting.
• Partner- with other churches and organizations practically and financially. Faith without deeds is dead. All interactions need to be grounded in love... otherwise they are not as meaningful or effective.