Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them …Hebrews 13:3
Camps for Smallest Victims of Crime
Episcopal dioceses across the nation are reaching out to the smallest victims of crime by offering summer camps to children of prisoners as well as at risk children and those with a parent deployed in the military.
Those who have experienced this ministry see it as a crime prevention program that works by offering them a safe place and glimpses of a life with unconditional love and hope..
This Episcopal News Service story covers camps in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nevada and Montana. For information about starting a camp, contact the Rev. Jackie Means, Missioner for Prison Ministries at 1-800-334-7626, firstname.lastname@example.org|
'Messiah' Helped prisoners, poor and sick
Handel composed his great oratorio, “Messiah,” specifically for a charity organization for prisoners, a hospital and a charitable infirmary. The first performance in Dublin, Ireland, was on April 13, 1742. The money from the performance, news reports said, freed 142 indebted prisoners.
Another “Messiah” was sung for the 26th straight year Nov. 25, 2012, in a small brick church built for the colonists just 21 years after that performance. It too was a benefit for the poor through the Salvation Army. More than 200 singers showed up for the event at St. James’ Parish in Lothian, MD.
A March 3 Lenten “Messiah” Sing-Along is under consideration.
Convention Okays Aid to Camps
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July, adopted the resolution calling for $50,000 a year for three years for new and struggling camps for chldren of the incarcerated. The task force will continue to press for the funding through Executive Council.
The Convention also voted for recognition and celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Rev. Jackie Means, the first woman officially ordained in Indianapolis where the convention was held. She is co-founder of Episcopal camps for children of the incarcerated.
Val Hymes and Means attended the convention, representing social and economic justice ministries. Means is Episcopal missioner for prison ministries. The resolution language follows:
Title: Camps for Children of the Incarcerated
Resolved , the House of Deputies concurring, That the 77 th General Convention reaffirm its commitment to establish and support summer camps for children who have parents in prison or in the criminal justice system; and be it further
Resolved , That the Program Officer of Social and Economic Justice encourage and support dioceses with such camps to facilitate networking among each other; and be it further
The Supreme Court in June upheld Maryland’s law ending prison-based “gerrymandering,” whereby the federal Census has counted mainly minority prisoner populations as residents of the rural counties that house these inmates instead of using their home addresses.
The Court said, “These distortional effects stem from the fact that while the majority of the state’s prisoners come from African-American areas, the state’s prisons are located primarily in the majority white First and Sixth Districts. As a result, residents of districts with prisons are systematically ‘overrepresented’ compared to other districts.” The First District included the Eastern Shore, while the Sixth District covers Western Maryland.
The effect of this decision will be a reallocation of funds from the rural districts to Baltimore City and the Washington suburbs, where most prisoners come from.
Death Penalty Repeal
A prisoner does not shed such basic First Amendment rights at the prison gate. -- Supreme Court
Four lifers, part of a nonprofit think tank incarcerated at the Jessup Correctional Institution, were scheduled to go to court via video conferencing Aug. 14 to challenge a prison policy that muzzled them from media interviews and photographs after they won a 2011 award from the Maryland Daily Record.
The Supreme Court Splits Oddly
Alito: “Most important criminal procedure case in decades.”
The Supreme Court justices, arguing Feb. 26 whether or not the collection of DNA during an arrest is an unreasonable search considering that a suspect is presumed innocent, split in unusual camps. The state of Maryland had discovered a rape suspect when he was arrested for assault. The Court of Appeals had struck down the case as a violation of the Fourth Amendment dealing with search and seizure. The state disagrees.
Prison Ministry Sunday
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Hospital for ‘Negro Insane’ Could Become 'Village
By Val Hymes
Four decades ago across the nation, states began closing their mental hospitals, sending patients to community programs and leaving behind large, tree-shaded campuses with empty brick buildings.
Val Hymes is coordinator/director of the Prison Ministry Task Force and editor of http://PrisMinNet.org
Are There ‘Systematic Racial Disparities’
The ACLU and the NAACP have asked the Commission on Civil Rights "to take another look at the systematic racial disparities in [Maryland’s] criminal justice system." In an editorial in the Baltimore Sun June 18, a disparity in the number of minorities in prisons is way above the number of minorities represented in the population.
"At every step along the way, minorities are treated more harshly, facing greater presumption of guilt, have fewer resources to defend themselves and suffer more severe penalties." And it's true across the nation at every level of the system from arrests to imprisonment, according to several studies.
In Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of ColorBlindness," the Ohio State University law professor says the huge number of minority over Caucasian prisoners is evidence of an extension of the Jim Crow system of discrimination for most of this century, especially when minorities do not commit significantly more crimes.
Prison Ministry Sunday
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