Author Archives: admin

The Benefit of Doubt

Which would you find more morally offensive: someone who committed a murder avoids conviction because of a prosecutorial error, or someone innocent of murder is sent to prison for it because of a prosecutorial error?

Expressing a sentiment commonly shared among the so-called “Founding Fathers” of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, “it is better a hundred guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer.”  I wonder if the leading voices in our society would say the same today.

It is not uncommon to hear of people being exonerated after spending decades of their life in prison. This is due, in no small part, to Continue reading

Doubt – Introduction

After an extended hiatus, it might seem strange to begin the monthly newsletter again with a planned four-part series on Doubt. I imagine many people might think that sounds like a particularly bad idea for writings intended to provide encouragement to a community of inmates and ministry volunteers. The inmates especially, we might think, would not benefit from reading an introduction to doubt. Indeed, many have been introduced to doubt in an all too familiar way. Continue reading

What church you attend on the street

“What church you attend on the street?”
He asked me.  Here I was, attending his church,
Visiting with a ministry to inmates, sheepishly I
admitted, I don’t go to any church right now.
“Oh, well I get that, I never went either, til I
found these people. Continue reading

“Serving Life” Documentary Trailer

This documentary about Angola’s hospice program airs on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) on Thursday July 28th 2011. I had a chance to see an early screening. I highly recommend that anyone interested in what it means to “serve life” in prison take a look.

Embodying the Presence Yet to Come

The following comes from the July 2011 Newsletter, a copy of which can be found here


I have had the privilege of accompanying several outside guests when they worship together with inmates at Angola for the first time. Upon their departure, these people often report that they  have had a powerful, even life changing, experience. Many express a reluctance to leave, to which my normal jocular response is “well, I know plenty of men who would love to trade places with you.”  To be sure, I mean no offence by the jest. My intention is simply to communicate the perspective of someone who sees the inside of the prison when the church call-outs are over. The truth of the matter is that the appearance of things at Angola changes during those worship services. By no means, however, does that mean that what happens during the services in which guests report having a profound experience of God’s presence is not real.

Continue reading