98% of those who are incarcerated will return to live in our community. How do we want them to return............broken and bitter or healed and whole? We have the opportunity to make a difference. Reach out to someone who has just returned from prison. Invite them for a cup of coffee. Get to know them. You may discover that just because they have done a bad thing doesn't make them a bad person. You may the one person that they learn to trust. You may have just the helping hand that they need in order to make a positive change and begin making good choices for their life.
Each week that I go into prison to facilitate a "Dialog Circles Class" I hear the following, "Miss Judy, I can't believe that you and these volunteers care enough about us to keep coming back. Why do you keep coming?" I don't really have an answer. I find it easy to care about these individuals who want so much to make things right. All of us have made bad choices resulting in harm to someone else. But we got a second chance. Many of the inmates that I know committed their felonies when they were quite young. They are completely different people today. Do they deserve a second chance? What do you think?
While at prison, I noticed a beautiful wall mural painted by the inmates. It was about
12 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It was a simple country scene with a rolling
landscape dotted with delicate flowers and slightly hidden animals. You had to
stop and look carefully to find the red fox, a cardinal, and a butterfly among
others. Wouldn't it be great if all of us could see our world the way those
inmates see it from inside a prison cell?