A person who has the means chose not to support our work this week. That’s not so unusual…after all, our work really isn’t very popular. But his reason sticks in my craw, and deserves a response. Here’s what he told a member of our board: I can write a book on the issues I have with prisons, legal system, overcrowding and any other issue someone in jail has BUT the biggest is just don't go to jail.
Here’s the problem I have with that. The guy is really saying, “That couldn’t happen to me. If people just lived the way I live, they wouldn’t wind up behind bars.” And that is so sadly untrue.
While it is true that many of the inmates with whom we work are poor and didn’t have the means to hire good legal counsel, the wealthy are not exempt. It may be true that it’s difficult for a rich man to get into heaven, based on Jesus’ words, but it’s certainly not hard for him to get into jail!
Let me just cite a few examples of people who, I am sure, probably thought the same thing: That can’t happen to me.
I know of not one, but two TEACHERS, both exemplary Christian men, who were brought down by naughty little girls who concocted stories that juries believed.
I know of two BUSINESSMEN, both followers of the gospel, who were brought down by little girls and their scheming mothers.
I know of a PHYSICIAN who was physically unable to commit the crime for which he was charged brought down by a malicious patient and an equally malicious prosecutor.
I know of a BANKER whose wife was killed when she fell down the basement stairs, but who wound up behind bars because some cop was convinced that the man gave her a shove.
I know of an ATTORNEY who specialized in dealing with exotic coins who was falsely accused in a criminal scheme and spent much of her life behind bars.
All of these people didn’t have a worry financially. All were able to hire good lawyers. But police officers with tunnel-vision and voter-seeking prosecutors in an imperfect system put these innocent people in prison.
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to support HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS if you don’t like what we do, or if you don’t believe that prisoners deserve to be treated like humans. That’s between you, your conscience and your God.
But you hadn’t better say, “It can’t happen to me.”