Inmates aren’t humans, they’re criminals…

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http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/5/27/whistleblower-arizonainmatesaredyingfrominadequatehealthcare.html

The article exposes examples of neglect and abuse that have taken place in Arizona’s prison system. Please read the article. What follows are my thoughts, written just after reading it myself.

Absolutely disgusting… makes me sick.
That’s how easy it is to neglect prisoners. Society really doesn’t care that much… and those that run the prison system know it. Let’s face the facts. The reason this sort of treatment is tolerated (and believe me it happens far more than you’d ever imagine) is because most of our society is just happy to have criminals out of the way, out of our frame of vision- so that we hardly ever have to remember that such things as prisons and inmates exist- that we might actually be called to minister to them; that we might be obligated to remember their humanity.

“Not in my backyard.”

As long as inmates are out of sight, they’re out of mind. That’s our society’s general disposition towards convicts. God forbid we have to face these people on any regular basis; God forbid we have to look into their all too human eyes, or learn of their all too human stories. God forbid we come to the terrifying reality that they are just like you and me; they too have sinned, and they too have been wayward children of God.

They aren’t humans, they’re criminals.

This is the grand belief that convicts are actually different from you and I. It’s the deluded and desperate belief that they are worse than we are because they are behind bars. This belief is all too common, and I’m here to remind you (and myself) that it isn’t Christian to believe and behave this way.

You see, dear reader, this is the great pretension… and we all are guilty of it. We really think that we aren’t as sinful as the men and women behind bars. I mean, just look at them! They LOOK like criminals! It’s so easy to write them off, so easy to compare ourselves to them and think with some smug pride, “well, at least I’m not a _____________ .”

This is why Christ himself and the Saints that have followed Him are so adamant that we have but one comparison to make: how do our lives match up against Jesus; how does our righteousness compare to God’s righteousness?

Let us measure ourselves by our Master, and not by our fellow-servants: then pride will be impossible.
– Charles Spurgeon

Notice we are not called to compare ourselves to our neighbor, and especially we are not called to compare ourselves to those we deem as less moral than we are. It’s been said that pride is perhaps the human trait that we most vociferously cling to. And here, in this case of prison neglect and abuse of inmates, we see it all too well.

In our pride we’ve discarded our fellow humans, our fellow sinners, our fellow penatents, our brothers and sisters in Christ, because we not only can’t be bothered by the problems associated with their criminal actions, but because we get some deep, insidious contentment in believing ourselves to be above those miserable convicts.

This is why prison ministry is so important, dear reader.

“You can judge a society by how it treats its prisoners.”
– Dostoyevsky

…. our society allows the abortion of babies and dehumanizes prisoners every single day….

Lord, God, help us.

“I tremble in fear for my country when I reflect that God is just.”
– Thomas Jefferson.

Buying testimony to win cases…

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http://m.ocregister.com/articles/cuevas-643108-paredes-informants.html

This article details how Police and Prosecutors paid over $70,000 each to two men inside jail in order for them to “snitch” (give information against other prisoners) so that the prosecutors could have enough evidence to get convictions.

Does this seem right to you?  “Here, we’ll pay you and give you all this special treatment if you get certain other prisoners to give you information.”

Two major points.  These men were “shot callers” very powerful positions within the jail system.  They could have people killed just by giving the order.  Anyone these men talked to would be scared to death and would very likely say almost anything they think they wanted to hear.  So how reliable is this “snitch” testimony?  Not very reliable at all.  Some states even have laws against jail-house testimony because it’s been proven to be so unreliable.

Is this really how we want “justice” found in our nation? Is this really a standard these prosecutors and police should be proud of?  …can we even trust it?

This is happening in our very country, in our very state….

Second, prosecutors were withholding the information from defense attorneys- a blatant violation of the constitution.  Hiding evidence…. 

Inform yourself.

Yet ANOTHER wrongful conviction…

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http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-michael-hanline-murder-release-20141119-story.html#page=1

case includes Prosecutors withholding evidence from the defense. 
   
“Several sealed police reports also were uncovered. The reports cast doubt on testimony by Hanline’s then-girlfriend, Mary Bischoff, who was granted immunity and was a key witness during the trial.

The police reports could have been used to diminish Bischoff’s credibility, or suggest that Hanline could have been framed for the murder, but were not disclosed to Hanline’s defense attorneys at the time.”

– DNA pointing to different people

– prosecutors might still try to re-try the case.

A Commercial Done Right, Finally…

I was so pleasantly surprised by Samsung’s most recent commercial.  Finally, advertisers produce something beautiful, uplifting, and even edifying.

In this commercial we see Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard as a married and expecting couple (are they married in real life?  I know not- truth be told, I’m not aware of who the actors are).  But I liked the commercial instantly.  It’s very sweet.

What it shows:

A married couple happy.

A married male and female who don’t shy away from their respective masculinity and femininity.

Two best friends who clearly married the right person.

An example of what married life can look like, what a blessing marriage can be.

Kudos to Samsung, at least here, for not falling into the all-too-common political correctness of degrading traditional marriage.

May you, dear reader, enjoy such a marriage in your own life… alas, even one that far exceeds it.