|Posted by projectreachinc on April 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM|
As more and more inmates find themselves praising the Lord and a steady growth in the number of faith-based prison/facilities across the nation. One can witness the fervor of devout volunteers and mentorship, but the programs are often met with criticism by some faith groups, politicians and taxpayers. Even though there is evidence that faith-base programs tend to help reduce recidivism and other negatives factors.
Other evidence provided by prison heads, ministry leaders, community leaders and inmates, strongly suggest that fights, violence and trouble-making has dropped sharply within many of the facilities. Far to often, faith-base programs are the only vibrant rehabilitation options at a time when taxpayer-funded alternatives have been cut back. Inmates offer compelling argument, that they feel they are treated with respect, dignity and given hope through these programs.
Inmates in faith-base prisons, sometime express that they have never had anyone to show them love, including their mothers and fathers and even by some local church and community leaders. However, faith-base programs shows the love that most are seeking.
With all of the wonderful things that perhaps faith-base prison/facilities provide: PROJECT R.E.A.C.H. INC., is suggesting a proactive approach in the form of faith-base public schools in some form. Minister Richard P. Burton, Sr., founder and director of PROJECT R.E.A.C.H, suggest that "Faith-based public schools were extremely important leading up to early sixties and should be a part of all public schools today". The U.S. Supreme Court has been vigilant in forbidding public schools and other agencies of the government to interfere with Americans' constitutional right to follow their own consciences when it comes to religion. In 1962, the justices ruled that official prayer had no place in public education.
Faith-based Public School efforts did and will cultivate, sustained and motivate young minds. It is urgent and necessary for churches, synagogues, mosques, and all faith-base organizations to signal a "Code Blue" as it relates to the need to come together to empower our families and children and especially our youth through education v. incarceration. Together we can be stronger, and together we can exponentially increase the effects of good works towards saving our children.
In order to be the top producers of successful students in our nations schools; we must be focused, determined and committed to providing our youth with as many resources as possible, including promoting prayer in public schools. If Congress, individuals and organizations would have spent the same energy, resources and lobbying efforts to keep prayer in our public schools, as with trying to stop "The Affordable Care Act" - Obama Care, perhaps faith-base prisons would not be needed today.
The faith community can help change the prison culture, by moving in a direction of "Saving Our Children and reducing the Prison Industrial Complex ( PIC) Now", by having local churches to partner with local schools in the form of adopting-a-school, as a great vehicle for connecting with a school in your local community. A few thoughts to consider as you ponder the recommendations; Start by promoting basic messages to maximize student success by creating healthy conditions at school and in the home - good character, stay in school, say no to drugs/ alcohol and no to bullying. Relationships can be developed with students through a combination of activities such as:
School-based Mentoring - cultivates trusting relationships between educators, adult role models and students, developing pro-social skills in students and a sense of belonging among their peers, families, and communities.
Life Skills Education - addresses anger management, school dropout and substance abuse.
After School & Summer Programs - provides enrichment activities for students, such as basketball leagues, chess games, robotic clinics, computer labs, etc...
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education. - Martin Luther King, Jr. "The Purpose of Education" (1947)
"At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall"