According to information provided by Crossroads Prison Ministry, 3 to 5% of those incarcerated for capital crimes, such as murder and rape claim they are innocent of “the crimes I am here for.”¹
And they truly are innocent.
How should Christians acting as mentors, on a first name only basis, think about and act toward inmates they communicate (through evaluating Bible lessons) with when they make this claim?
For more use the DOOR.
The context is “grading” Bible lessons prisoners have volunteered to take, and a middle group has insured privacy for the mentors who undertake this job.
This means that the research² that provides this information has discovered (somehow) that 95 to 98% of the prisoners are lying about this.
The head of Prison Ministries is troubled by this. If 2,200,000 men and women are incarcerated in the U.S., using the conservative 3% figure, then 66,000 innocent men and women are locked up right now. Crossroads Ministry claims, then, that their ministry mentors³ interact with 75 innocent people each week.
What to do when it’s so easy to doubt what you’re told?
(1) Assume the best. Don’t accuse them of lying. To do so will cause them to lose their trust in you.
(2) Pray over your student’s words, and express gratitude that they were willing to share their story with you.
(3) Encourage them to remain hopeful rather than growing angry or bitter during their jail time.
[I would add one more thing: Carefully see where your conversation goes after this, and let God guide you to be wise in your future exchanges.]
Ministering to those in prison in considered important in the Bible.
¹ All material here is taken from the Sept. 2020 Crossroads Ministries newsletter. If interested in more, I suggest you call them at 800-668-2450.
² Actual “research” is not identified here.
³ I am a mentor. Possibly, you could be one, too.