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Posted: 4/1/2002 6:53:06 PM EDT
There now that I have your attention, I and a group of men from my church went to the state pen tonight to participate in their weekly church sevice. I was a little nervous about the whole deal, but I decided that these guys are still human and need to know that someone on the outside does care. Before the service started, as the inmates were drifting in and finding a seat, one guy came and sat down near me and I intoduced myself (first name only seemed to be the custom)as did he. He said "the easy part is getting in here, getting back out is the hard part". Of course I am sitting there trying to figure out why it would be so hard for our group to get back out when we all had to undergo background checks and go through a metal detector to get in. After a little bit he leaned over and said that was meant as a joke. Boy talk about feeling like an idiot. Another guy sat by me and after intoductions said " youve never been in prison have you". Of course I have not and I wondered if I had a sign on my forehead or something, it must have really shown I was nervous. Anyway, it was a really good time to be there and be part of their service and to worship The same God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Afterward we visited with the inmates that wanted to hang around and talk and I knew one of them from my area who is in for rape. Now do not think I am being disillusioned into thinking these people do not deserve to be where they are, I was just able to attach a bit of humanity to these people and in the process feel some compassion for these fellow Christians. No matter how hardened the criminal God can heal and reform! One of the inmates opened up to me after the service and told me how full of anger and hate he was when he was put in and how finding the Lord had changed him. I can only imagine what he was like before, but the man I was talking to seemed to have a peace he had not known before. Anyway enough rambling, I just wanted to share this experience with anyone who might care to know. Lee
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:02:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2002 7:02:57 PM EDT by littlemarine]
I, like you, also believe people belong where they are. But that really is a great thing to see. As many times as I've seen God at work it still amazes me. Thanks for sharing the story and don't be afraid to go back in and continue to teach. After all thats what we're here for.
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:02:37 PM EDT
Thats a really good thing you did man,we need more people out there like you. The way I look at it when they get out they only have the coice of either going back to crime or making something of thoer lives. If they use religion to better themselves and give them a sence of responsibility for once in his/her life thats great! [b]Come to take my guns......I'll give ya the bullets first!![/b][50]
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:17:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:21:33 PM EDT
nailbender, I understand you wanting to help people and make them better. And if you can help some hard luck case with religion, well you BOTH benefit. However, I reserve the opinion ONLY for non violent criminals. If someone steals my car, pockets some items at a local store or illegally modifies a post ban rifle, I can forgive them. But Rapists, murders and violent offenders are a differnet issue entirely. Many of us are offended by their continued existence, much less people efforts to rehabilitate them. It really burned me to see Carla Faye Tucker become a hero to the faithful. She was a murdering bitch, period. No redemption can undo her crime. So even if she TRULY found god, she should still die and understand WHY. Thankfully George pulled the plug on her. And if it was my wife or daughter who was victimized by the rapist, I would really resent your efforts to help that POS. Why don't you go help rape victims instead? And god forbid you help get one of these murderers or rapists released early. The only reason I would thank you is for giving me the opportunity to kill the person who raped a family member. I apologize for being harsh, but wanted you to understand the perspective. Just remember who you are helping. They are no longer human beings, they foreited their humanity by not remembering it when they were raping and murdering.
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:36:53 PM EDT
what steyr said. you can't reform these people, they're fukked. if i was religous i wouldn't want my god forgiving rapists and murderers.
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:40:32 PM EDT
Yes, for those who are willing to look, God is constantly at work around us in every aspect of our lives and this world. I rode up in the same vehicle as my pastors and we all agreed that this needed to be an annual or more thing to do. I have to admit though that I would be somewhat apprehensive about contact with an inmate after his release, but that is just me since some of these guys are in for long sentences. Its hard to break an attitude about convicts. Jesus did say "Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me". I have heard three excellent sermons in the last weeks that have dealt with the "religion" issue. God is not about religion, He is about a personal relationship with YOU!!!!!!!! It does not matter one iota to God what church or denomination you belong to. If you have not accepted Jesus sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and invited him to live in you, then all the church is not going to help one bit come the time to stand before the creator of the universe and to be judged like every human in time past, present and future will be, guaranteed. Take your chances and doubt this and you will pay with with your soul for EEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRR­RRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTY­YYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus answered, "I am THE(not A way, but THE only way) way THE truth and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me. JOHN 14:6 I realize these are strong statements and totally idiotic to you if you cannot accept the concept of GOD, but I just ask that you think about it and ask yourself if what you beleive to be true about your life and this world we live in can really substansiate the notion that there is no GOD. He is real and desires that all should come to know him in a real and personal way!!!!! Lee "Prevent truth decay, read the BIBLE"
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 7:42:11 PM EDT
I went to prison today too, but then again I have been coming and going everyday for the last 15 years[:)] Others have said to realize that many convicts are just looking for another person to scam. This is true and believe it or not, many just go to services to be closer to a living, breathing female that is more often than not in attendance with a group. You would not believe the number of convicts who all of the sudden "get saved" once inside the walls. This is a total crock of crap, if they were "God fearing" people, they wouldn't do the crimes they did to get there, and no amount of "saving" will help them. There are some who are actually sincere, but the vast majority are just playing the game and passing the time. I don't mean do disillusion you or put down for what you are trying to do, just trying to let you see the "Big Picture" from firsthand knowledge. Continue to do it if it makes you feel good, but just remember where you are givng the service. I deal with around 1500 of these mutts on a daily basis, and 99.9% of them are there for a reason. 'Nuff said.
Link Posted: 4/1/2002 8:04:56 PM EDT
When I decided to post my story I knew I would get both sides after seeing the way "ISSUES" are dealt with on this board. I knew going in what I was getting into and I still know what I got into. I can understand the cynicism that comes from being exposed to prisoners on a regular basis and I did sit there and wonder how many of them were there just for a change of pace. I also sat there wondering what it was like in the adjoining areas where the non-attendees were. Not to worry, I will not be having anybody over for dinner soon. As for the rapist from my area, if he is ever released I could not in good conscience associate with him because he is a deviant to this day. He is the same as he was 20 years ago, friendly to you, but I could never trust him
Link Posted: 4/2/2002 8:01:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/2/2002 11:33:50 AM EDT
Nailbender, I agree with striker and JH225. I worked at the prison you visited for over 3 years. I have moved on and now I work in SE SD as a police officer during my time there I saw many people con'd by inmates at all security levels. Please be very careful what you say and do around these inmates they are like every one else in this world however they will exploit any one to benefit them selves at any ones expense. I think you are doing a good thing just remember who these people are. Also the bad check writer and DWI's do not sit on the hill too often they go to the work release units more often than not. [sniper]
Link Posted: 4/2/2002 4:00:30 PM EDT
OK, I apologize for the comment about "cynicism". Thankyou for the advice to keep my eyes open. I would not give any personal info to an inmate anyway. As I sat there and talked with some of the inmates, I did have my gaurd up, butr to the uninitiated I can see how a person could get buffaloed. I have a sister who is a drug addict and can lie like no ones business. IF someone does not know her they can get sucked in. Thanks again guys. matt45 where are you in SE SD? I am about 40 miles south of SF in Alcester. Lee
Link Posted: 4/3/2002 10:16:09 PM EDT
Look at each of the above posts and learn something from, or about, each one. You are peeling back the thin veneer of civilization and peeking underneath, and what you learn is still true when you leave. If I were you, I'd hook up with someone who's been doing it for a while to learn your way around. Don't waste time with muslims, they love nothing more than to debate and tie you up every way they can. If there is an exception, you'll know, but I doubt you'll meet one. On the other hand, it is one of the most enriching experiences I recall. There are lives in there that can be reached, and the same guys telling you what scum they see day after day should also be telling you about the lower recidivism rates. It does make a difference. Thanks for doing it. BTW, I felt nervous my first time also. After that, I always much much safer inside than on the streets.
Link Posted: 4/4/2002 12:34:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/4/2002 12:36:20 AM EDT by USP40C]
Isn't religion/God a fun topic. I would like to applaud you nailbender, for you are doing what has been asked of all of us. You are spreading the word of God, and indeed to those most in need of it. Granted, some or most of the inmates are likely there for the afore mentioned reasons, but neither of those ammounts is all. There are some of these men who genuinely seek God in the services they attend. Who seek Christ and the forgiveness afforded through their own personal relationship with him. It sadens me to see the misunderstanding I have read from some of you. By accepting Jesus as your personal savior, ALL of your sins are forgotten in the eyes if God. I am not saying that these men should be released for "professing their faith" as we will never know the soul of a man, or what is truely in his heart. However to say that these are no longer human beings, is rediculous. They may be despicable, but they are despicable people in our eyes, through their actions. While some may be and probably should be beyond the forgiveness of society as a whole, they are never too far gone for God. You may only reach one of these men, and that is the one whom you are there for, God will sort out the rest. nailbender, do be very careful, but do not give up on them, as to my way of thinking, that is the greatest disservice you can do to God. After all, he could have given up on us.
Link Posted: 4/4/2002 1:28:58 AM EDT
Don't get too teary-eyed. Work/volunteer there in outside of any religious capacity, and you'll get a chance to see some of these "lost little souls" in their true skins. Yes, it is possible to "change", but don't believe you weren't being cased by a few of them. Be on your guard, and don't fall for a web. Before getting caught up in the "fever of the Lord" and working up some bond with some poor souls, try to follow someone who works in the zoo and learn from them, if possible. The (healthy) skeptical attitude you might notice is borne from experience. An inmate can change, but it's wise to keep a certain safe distance, watch & learn. The true pathologies will eventually come out. The liars will lie, the thieves will steal, etc., etc. You can live with the rest. Good luck. Keep your eyes open.[shock]
Link Posted: 4/4/2002 5:11:09 AM EDT
Yep I agree inmates can change. However proof is not in saying they have changed but proving it by living it. I also think it is good they can find solace in the lord, but when I worked there I saw inmates at church functions and every other function in their lives. There are two differnt sides to everyone like the outside the person who praises the lord on sunday filps off the first person who cuts them off in traffic on the way home is being hypocritace. I will not sit and tell every one all inmates are bad or good. But I will say to any one who calls me a cynic, the inmates I knew covered a wide specturm and they mirrored all aspects of people on the outside some good some very bad. HOWEVER THEY ALL HAD ONE THING IN COMMON THEY WERE ALL THERE FOR REASONS. Yes there are bad check writters in prision and Drunk drivers. There also the people who took plea bargins to lesser crimes to save the county and state money by not going to trial, IE attempted murder/Agg People are the masters of their own destiny and choose the path they will follow. They can not change the past. Only make better choices based on what they have learned from the choices they have already made. ervated assault. I think any one who tries to help another person in this world is a better person for it. And I only responded to this post to see that Nailbender received some good advice to go with his good work with trying to help these inmates. By the way Nailbender check your mail.
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