In this video interview, Rev. Jeannie Alexander challenges Christians to practice forgiveness and consider what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Jeannie Alexander is the Co-founder and Director of No Exceptions Prison Collective.
As we reflect on Jeannie Alexander's video, "Practicing Forgiveness," this reflection can be used individually or in a group setting to think about what a more just prison system could look like.
Jeannie Alexander is not shy about sharing that the prison system in the U.S. is a form of captivity and that Christians should be working to free captives. But Jeannie is not suggesting that we do away with prisons altogether. Is there a better example of what a prison system could look like?
Many are pointing to Norway. Norway’s incarceration rate is just 75 per 100,000 people while the United States’ is 707 per 100,000 people. Only 20% of prisoners in Norway are re-arrested while 76.6% of prisoners in the U.S. are re-arrested within five years.
After prisoners serve their initial sentence, Norway’s prison system determines if the prisoner has been rehabilitated. If not, the sentence can be extended until rehabilitation is successful.
Prisoners in the Norwegian system feel that they are treated like people and are allowed to live in a way that prepares them for what life will be like after release.
As Erwin James puts it, Norway’s prison system is “designed to heal rather than harm and to generate hope instead of despair.”
Here are some actions we can take to move towards a just prison system in our communities.
Jeannie Alexander references Luke 4:18 in her interview, a verse where Jesus says that God has sent him to “proclaim freedom for the prisoners” (NIV). Share this verse on social media to let your followers know about Jesus’ call to re-think justice!