Monday, February 25, 2013

Stacking Paper - A Poem from Prison

The is the fifth poem in my series entitled Poems from Prison. All the poems in the series were written by Somer Erickson while she was incarcerated. I met her while volunteering at Dawson State Jail.
This particular poem was written specifically for women in prison, to give them advice from 
the perspective of one of their own.
Somer touches upon many topics including personal responsibility. 

Stacking  Paper

My prayer for the women in prison
comes forth straight from the heart
May your spirit heal from the absence
of your family and being apart
May your eye not be too stubborn
to show others it still carries tears
while standing firm in your morals
overcoming each and every one of your fears
May your heart not turn to hardness
when you see another woman in need
never be too put out to share
don't do like others and stock up on greed
May your tongue not be used as a weapon
for words build just as well as they break
We're all here in this prison together 
each women responsible for her own mistake

May your arms not be too busy to hug
because love is what prison is lacking
Affection, caring and kindness
is the paper we should have been stacking
May your pen always ink wisdom
you never know if your words will be the last you say
Leave those who matter with a piece of yourself
we're not promised tomorrow or even today
© Somer Erickson

Have you ever asked yourself why our prison population continues to grow?
Chuck Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship, a highly effective prison ministry,
asked the same questions many years ago.

He wrote:
"During the first 10 years of Prison Fellowship, I focused on evangelizing prisoners, building discipleship programs, and training volunteers. But I became perplexed that our growing ministry couldn’t keep pace with the nation’s skyrocketing prison populations. And this was at a time when the country was enjoying economic prosperity; poverty was on the wane—so why were more people ending up behind bars?
It was not until I read the landmark 1977 study called The Criminal Personality
that I was able to begin to fully appreciate what was going on. The study’s authors, psychologist Stanton Samenow and psychiatrist Samuel Yochelson, rebutted the conventional wisdom that crime was caused by environment—things like poverty and racism.
It was caused, they individuals making wrong moral choices.

So the solution to crime, they said, was "the conversion of the wrongdoer to a more responsible lifestyle"    

I later read another seminal work, Crime and Human Nature, by Richard J. Herrnstein and James Q. Wilson, then at Harvard. They determined that crime is caused by the lack of moral training in the morally formative years."

Prison Ministries help reset a prisoners moral compass.
Hope Prison Ministries website states "on a national basis, recidivism estimates range from 60% and higher. This means that 6 out of 10 of those released from prison will return to prison within 3 years." 
In contrast, "recidivism rates among those completing a faith-based dorm program are less than 10%".  Meaning less than 1 out of 10 will return to prison.

Prison ministries seek to love those in prison and teach them of God's love for them, His provision for them through Jesus and God's truth found in the Bible.
These programs change the lives of prisoners like Somer.

Please join me in supporting faith based prison programs thru prayer,volunteering or donations.  

Prison Fellowship
Ministries 101
Hope Prison Ministries -Home pageRecidivism page For more information click here to read the full article.

POEMS from Prison -Series - click on the links below

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