Justice that Restores

Breakpoint This Week recently hosted a conversation with the head of Prison Fellowship, Jim Liske. They discussed the Christian view of restoration within the context of prison. Prison Fellowship has had some excellent results in their efforts. While the general prison population has a recidivism rate of 50% within 3 years, Prison Fellowship has been able to lower that rate to 10%. At the heart of their efforts is an understanding of grace.

In light of some recent conversations here regarding the role of obedience and grace in transforming a believer’s life, I thought this was an excellent example of how Evangelicals see grace transforming even hardened criminals. In fact the conversation quite pointedly rejects the idea that a person’s life can be changed through merely following rules.

Download here [25 minutes]


7 thoughts on “Justice that Restores

  1. Prison Fellowship and other outreach (inreach) programs to jails and prisons are rewarding for both the inmates and the visitors.

  2. Good interview. I must confess that ages ago when news reports started surfacing about Charles Colson having “found religion,” I was quite skeptical. I’m glad I was wrong; Colson ended up changing the way many people, especially evangelicals, think about the incarcerated, and we’re all better off as a result.

  3. How Mormons view convicts is an interesting question. I have some limited experience with it. My uncle was a member of the branch presidency in the prison branch in Utah. The branch had quite a bit of activity, however there was an ongoing dilemma about how to deal with convicts that had committed crimes “worthy” of excommunication or disfellowship. And it there was also internal debate amongst the branch presidency regarding how the prisoners should be accepted into wards once they were released. I don’t thing Mormons have a consistent, straightforward approach to criminals. Like many others, they don’t fit very well in the culture of LDS wards.

    That said, I think that it is clear that the Mormon Gospel can change lives in the way the Evangelical Gospel does by allowing criminals to see a higher purpose in their lives and actions that would lead them to better behavior.

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