Archive for the ‘Prison Reform’ Category

POTUS PUSHES PRISON REFORM

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Praise Rolls in for POTUS’ Announcement on the FIRST STEP Act

POTUS seeks justice.

Plus: New book release: THE OTHER SIDE OF PAIN

(Prayers and deepest condolences to the families of President President George H. W. Bush and all experiencing loss during this season.)

Praise for President Trump’s support of the FIRST STEP Act and urge its passage through Congress:

HERITAGE FOUNDATION PRESIDENT KAY COLES JAMES: “These conservative, individualized and data-driven reforms will give prisoners the education, skills, and rehabilitation they need to return to their communities and prosper. I applaud President Trump and members of Congress for coming together to recognize this opportunity.”

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN: “Redemption is at the heart of the American Idea, and that’s what this is about. Creating a smoother path for those who have been incarcerated to successfully reenter and contribute to society is a worthwhile goal and one we have long been working toward. The President’s announcement is an encouraging sign that we can achieve substantive reforms to our criminal justice system in this Congress.”

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): “Very excited to have President @realDonaldTrump’s support for the FIRST STEP Act. This bipartisan legislation gives nonviolent offenders an earned second chance and should dramatically reduce the recidivism rate by focusing on skills necessary for people to stay out of prison.”

FOX NEWS’ SEAN HANNITY: “I think we do need real reform. There is unfairness in the system. … Punishment is not working. If you have a 77% recidivism rate, locking you up in a place with bad people and you’re not helping or advancing and changing hearts and minds, it makes sense to me.”

CNN’S VAN JONES: “Give the man his due: @realDonaldTrump is on his way to becoming the uniter-in-Chief on an issue that has divided America for generations.”

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT) IN FOX NEWS: A Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform
“We now have a rare opportunity to pass criminal justice reform that will help restore trust in law enforcement and protect American families. In May of this year, the House of Representatives passed the First Step Act, which includes some much-needed prison reform measures that would reduce recidivism. … It is unlikely we will get another opportunity to enact meaningful reform anytime soon. President Obama failed to accomplish criminal-justice reform during his eight years in office. But President Trump and the Republican Congress can get the job done now. It would be another big step toward making America great again.”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD: Trump Is Right to Embrace Criminal Justice Reform
“On Wednesday, Trump signaled his full-throated support for a bipartisan bill called the First Step Act, which would reform federal prison and re-entry procedures while also modestly scaling back mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug felons. These reforms are very much in harmony with the lessons learned by conservative legislators at the state level.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: A Real Chance at Criminal Justice Reform
“In this early test, the president is signaling that he indeed wants to make progress on critical issues that enjoy broad bipartisan support. Lawmakers from both parties should follow suit. … [The First Step Act] would reduce mandatory sentencing guidelines for certain drug crimes, allow judges greater wiggle room in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders, do away with the ‘stacking’ provision that tacks on years for the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime and, at long last, make retroactive the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the sentencing gap between crack and powder-cocaine offenses.”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER CONTRIBUTOR MARK VARGAS: Our Cruel and Inhumane Prison System Is So Close To Reform
“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, the discussion about prison and sentencing reform is back on the table. … The First Step Act, which passed the House of Representatives back in May with overwhelming bipartisan support, is a big step in bringing about reform. It’s now time for the Senate to act and pass this historic piece of legislation so that the president can sign it.”

FREEDOMWORKS PRESIDENT ADAM BRANDON IN THE HILL: Time to Pass the First Step Act
“The merits of the First Step Act compromise package in the Senate stand on their own legs. Carefully crafted criminal justice reforms that provide modest but meaningful incentives to prisoners to participate in evidence based programming individually designed to reduce their risk of reoffense upon release from prison is all but entirely noncontroversial legislation.”

FORMER REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK) IN THE OKLAHOMAN: Now Is the Time to Pass “First Step Act”
“The goal of the ‘First Step Act’ is to give those leaving prison the tools and resources needed to successfully re-enter society and most importantly, live a crime-free life. The bill will likely also include long-overdue changes to some of the most unnecessarily harsh sentencing laws in the federal system. The bill will be introduced in the Senate this week and should have the support of Oklahoma Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford. As long as Democrats who have shown and voiced support of the legislation follow through, the bill should get well above the votes it needs to pass.”

USAToday OpEd – Kushner: President Trump’s Bipartisan Prison Reforms Will Reduce Recidivism and Improve Public Safety

[Excerpt. Link to full op-ed HERE]
“Crime imposes substantial fiscal and social costs on the United States. Victims and society at large also bear significant costs through pain, suffering, reduced quality of life, property losses, increased medical costs, and loss of life. The most recent estimates from 2014 indicate that altogether these damages constitute an additional 1.5 percent of GDP, yielding a total burden of 2.9 percent of GDP, or roughly $500 billion.

“These costs can be attributed, in part, to crimes committed by prisoners after already serving once in prison, through recidivism after being released from state and federal facilities.
To break this cycle, President Donald J. Trump is working to effect bipartisan and evidence-based prison reforms to reduce recidivism. He issued an executive order in March that is bringing together more than a dozen Federal agencies to identify ways to reduce recidivism, enhance the reentry process, and improve public safety.

“The administration also worked with Congress to draft the FIRST STEP Act, legislation which seeks to strengthen recidivism reduction and evidence-based reentry programs for inmates in federal prisons.

“This White House recognizes that fiscal and human costs of criminal activity are unacceptably high. Through our efforts to break the cycle of crime and reduce recidivism, we can assist more people to contribute to our society rather than be a burden to our great country.”

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR JUBILEE: Bring Daddy and Mommy Home!

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” Luke 4:18

LET FREEDOM RING!

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Revisiting Prophecy after the Hot Meeting at the White House

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Photo courtesy of Evangelist Alveda King
Permission granted.

Talk about a long hot summer… Since my recent visit to the White House on August 1, 2018, the heat has been turned up. Being a part of the group present for an update on President Trump’s prison reform agenda has caused a firestorm in many circles, to say the least.

I Timothy 2:1-2 “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”>

At the meeting on August 1, the President focused on prison reform and urban initiatives. The session was very encouraging as we received updates on Executive Orders regarding prison reform, the job market and job readiness, aide to foreign nations, life and more… President Trump was very interactive with those around the table. His empowerment agenda is backed by a solid team which includes strong voices in the faith community. As evidenced in his quotes below, President Trump’s position on faith is very clear:

“We will be one people, under one God, saluting one American flag.”

“We will say Merry Christmas again!”

“Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God.”

“Faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.”

“Across our land, we see the splendor of God’s creation. Throughout our history, we see the story of God’s providence. And in every city and town, we see the Lord’s grace all around us, through a million acts of kindness, courage and generosity. We love God”.

Also, here are some of candidate Donald J. Trump’s campaign promises in 2016. (Note that President Trump has fulfilled most of them.):

• Defend Religious Liberty.
• Represent the unborn.
• Defund Planned Parenthood.
• Appoint conservative jurists to the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts.
• Reinstate the Mexico City Policy (block U.S. federal funds for abortion).
• Rescind the Johnson Amendment.
• Sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (2018).
• Move the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

While I am among those who genuinely love President Trump and his family, I’d like to encourage everyone, even those who do not, to pray in the manner that the scripture above teaches us.

Prior to 2016, during the presidential elections in America, then candidate Donald J. Trump was compared to King Cyrus in the Bible. This comparison led to a wave of prophetic utterances in the communities of faith. While the Trump/Cyrus connection has been the most popular for those seeking spiritual understanding about the state of our nation and the world, there are other analogies worth observing.

David Lane writes for American Renewal Project about “Rahab, Dagon and Donald Trump”

“President Trump may be equated with Rahab in the Book of Joshua. Although a Canaanite by birth, Rahab stood by faith for the unseen God against a pagan culture. She showed by her actions to be the mouthpiece of God. Francis Schaeffer puts Rahab’s political environment into context: “Surrounding Rahab, however, was a hostile (Deep State) … impregnable, or so its inhabitants thought … surrounded by a monolithic mentality (empowered by) a (pagan) worldview … Rahab was pressured by a powerful city and (profane) culture. … At (that exact) moment she could see nothing with her eyes which (would indicate a) fall.”(2)

“The portion of Evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians who support President Trump do so because he stands firmly against a culture that is increasingly hostile to Biblical Christianity. As one Christian said, ‘I didn’t elect him to be my pastor.’

“The deterioration of a once Biblically-based culture is often cited as the reason that Evangelicals decided to roll the dice with Donald J. Trump in 2016. Having had a year and a half to take his measure, President Trump turns out to be a Samson, willing to do what God’s people have not done. Even Samson’s “parents did not know that this was from the LORD,” on the occasion when Samson was confronting the Philistines.(3)

“Additionally, minority unemployment is at a historical low, the economy is soaring, and ISIS is defeated. There are tax cuts for all. The Courts of Appeals and SCOTUS are being returned to interpreting the law instead of making law, policy, and new rights out of thin air [for example, Obergefell vs Hodges]. Given all this, one particular question still requires an answer from both Democrats and moderate Republicans: “Is the take down of Trump 45 more important than the success of America?”

Success or failure? Which one will we choose? While I’ve often said that I don’t care what people say or think about me, that’s not entirely true. If your hatred for me prevents your being able to receive truth and light, I do care.

“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16

It’s been a week since the meeting at the White House. I’ve been quiet on the networks since then; licking a few wounds I must admit. People have been very supportive or very hateful to those of us who attended the meeting with POTUS. I’m back now, asking for your prayers, and praying for you. God bless you.

Important Juneteenth Message -Stop Selective Outrage!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Immigrant Children versus American Children

180619 blog imageIt seems as if overnight the world has been consumed with a new movement calling for an end to the separation of immigrant children from their mothers at the border, but have we forgotten our own children?

Every year thousands of American women, U.S. citizens, born and raised on this land, have been forcefully separated from their children and sent off to various prisons throughout the nation while their children fall under the jurisdiction of government agencies like the Department of Family and Children Services. In some cases, the women are lucky enough to have family that will take care of their children until they complete their prison terms, but what about American women who don’t have families willing to assume this responsibility?

Sometimes, women serving long prison sentences have their children adopted out, and the records are sealed, leaving mothers, once released from prison, at the start of a long and often unsuccessful journey to find their own flesh and blood. Where is the outrage over these children being separated from their mothers?

You might say that those being sent to jail have committed crimes and should be sent to prison. And you would be right. But just as it would be wrong to discard the crimes being committed by American women simply to keep them with their children, it is equally misguided to advocate discarding the crimes of those breaking the law to come into this country illegally just so families can be kept together. Tossing the law aside is not the answer. The answer lies in reform; reform of the immigration system and reform of the prison system.

The situation causing the “children being torn from the parents’ arms” lament was created by laws proposed and passed by Democrats. So, too, were many of the laws causing our current criminal justice crisis, including laws more heavily enforced on black offenders; private prisons that prioritize profit over humanity, and harsher sentences for first offenders.

Case in point: Angela Stanton, a young woman I have been mentoring for the last twelve years, is a national bestselling author and television personality for BET-HER’s new reality show “From the Bottom Up.” Before she found her recent success she spent some time in and out of Georgia prisons, involved in a life of crime with defamed reality TV star Phaedra Parks of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

On her last stint in lockup, she found herself handcuffed to a bed while giving birth to her fifth child, all while a sheriff’s deputy stood nearby, watching in amazement. Twenty-four hours later Angela was separated from her newborn and sent back to a cold cement block cell. Hemorrhaging, and with only three pads a day she improvised by using her white t-shirts as sanitary napkins and cleaning them by washing them out in the jail toilet. The experience of being separated from her child at birth left Angela depressed and suicidal.

There are even more children whom those outraged over immigrant children have kept silent about for decades – those who are ripped from their mother’s wombs in abortion. Where is the outrage over these children?

Who’s to blame for snatching American babies from the arms and wombs of their parents? We all are.

Our children are our future and we, as a society, need to do all we can to ensure they have the best chance at a good life. That best chance begins with the family.

As everyone across the country and throughout our government is focused on mothers and children, this is the moment to advocate for all babies. Clearly we need immigration reform, and just as clearly, we need prison reform. But the first change I would like to see is a nation that welcomes children across the border of the womb, rather than demanding the right to deny that child the rights he or she is entitled to as a member of the human family.

Today is Juneteenth and a great opportunity to begin to fight for the freedom of all those enslaved by unjust laws. Let’s work together to save all children. Their lives matter. Pray for America’s children too!