Only The Lord Can Change Hearts and The Stats In Prison



This ad is funny…But not fun when the rise of number of women incarcerated continues to be on the rise since the 80’s. Most of them have drug convictions or violations. Look at these stats [source: Women's Prison Association]:

~ Over 200,00 women are in prison and jail in United States. More than 1 million women are under criminal justice supervision

There were 115,779 women incarcerated in either state or federal prisons at midyear 2008

• The average daily adult female jail population at midyear 2008 was 99,175

• At year end 2007, there were 987,427 women on probation, representing 23% of the total probation population.

• Women represented 12% of the parole population (98,923 women) in 2007

The number of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades
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• The female prison population grew by 832% from 1977 to 2007. The male prison population grew 416% during the same time period

• Oklahoma has the highest female imprisonment rate at 134 per 100,000 women. Massachusetts has the lowest rate of female imprisonment at 13 per 100,000 women

Two thirds of women in prison are there for non-violent offenses, many for drug-related crimes.

• Twenty-eight percent of women in state prison at year end 2005 were sentenced for drug offenses. Property offenses accounted for another 28% of the female state prison population.

Together, property and drug crimes – non-violent offenses – make up nearly 2/3 of the population of women in prison. At yearend 2005, 35% of women in prison were convicted of violent offenses

• Over 2.5 million women were arrested in 2007, accounting for nearly a quarter of all arrests. The arrests of women increased nearly seven percent from 1998 to 2007

• In the five-year period from 2003 to 2007, arrests of women for drug violations increased 29%, compared to 15% for men




Remember them in your prayers and ask God to transform the lives of these inmates, both women and men.

Change in our hearts only comes from the Lord. Nothing or no one else can.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 - “26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” [NIV]


1 Peter 3:8-10 - “8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” [NIV]

Luke 6:35- “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” [NIV]

27 comments:

  1. The Lord is using you in this ministry.
    I pray for you sis. The spirit of the Lord be upon you! Strength and blessings surround you.

    I come back to read your post again sis. As usual its morning here, tulog na:)

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  2. "Remember them in your prayers and ask God to TRANSFORM the lives of these inmates, both women and men."
    ~~~Rosel

    The world is in such deep need of prayer for so many things, places, people, issues, needs, and more....that adding another almost seems impossible.

    But then, when it comes to prayer, once again, the least among us seem to go to the bottom of the list. Let us lift higher here for these inmates and for our nation.

    Since I had custody of two little girls as a single parent, I found myself on appeal after appeal for 17 years. All in the courthouse knew me by first name and waved from all corridors. For the most part, decisions were favorable, since judges now are prone to realise that women do lie, and act like men as much as men do. It is no longer a bias to one gender by judges....except one downtown.

    The issue was small, an irritant in visitation, but the judge ruled against me, and for a lie. I wanted to take my girls to church on "every other Sunday" they were at mom's. I think it was the length of battle that made me walk out of the courtroom, walk down an aisle, and put my arm on a wall and my head on the arm, and just stand still for an eon of time.

    "Keystone, what are you doing here?", a man asked.
    "I just finished a court hearing and the judge made a very bad decision that will hurt my girls", said I.

    "What happened?", he continued.

    I was so distraught that I groped for a way to explain with words.

    "I used to garden every year. I canned 150 quarts of tomatoes, did beets, pickles, sauerkraut, everything.

    But when I made pickles, I would wait til the last moment to pick the cukes. Jars were readied, brine was made. Pickles were a favorite so I made sure the best cukes were picked at their peak. I crunched a few in the garden to test.

    So let me ask you, I queried this man in courthouse halls. If I take the cuke from my garden, plunge it in brine, and pull it right out and take a bite, is it a pickle or a cuke?

    "Probably a cuke" he replied.

    "What if I leave it in the jar a minute or an hour? Cuke or pickle?"

    "Probably still a cuke", he replied each time.

    "How about a year?"

    "Well, now you probably have a pickle", he admitted.
    "So somewhere between a minute and a year, a cuke turns into a pickle, eh?"
    He agreed.

    "Well",... I continued,"the person who lied to the judge in there and harmed my girls has been brined in lies and deception for over a decade and fooled the judge. I go through this several times a year, each time waiting for a hatchet job from the lies. My problem?
    The liar has been in a brine of lies for over a decade.
    Once a cuke turns to a pickle, it can never be turned back into a cucumber."

    The man replied in a way I did not anticipate.
    He said: "Not necessarily with MY God!"
    "Let me pray for you now".

    And as clerks, attornies, para-legals, friends and foes walked by, I leaned on a wall and a man prayed that God turn pickles into cukes anew. It was a lightning bolt moment of understanding of the power of prayer to change the unchangeable.

    These inmates are in various stages of brining.
    They are all being pickled.
    Pray them back to fresh picked, crunchy and perfect cucumbers.

    Hebrews 13:2 says
    "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

    An angel showed up in court as I tilted into a wall of distraught. He reminded me of the power of a Gracious God.

    I thought I would mention this so that you could pray about the pickles in your lifes that need to go back to cucumbers, and then make sure to add inmates in your town, your state, your nation....both men and women.

    Criminal Court goes on TV and judges love to go there. Family Court burns them out and is a hellhole of Solomon moments daily, that fatigue our judges. Pray for them to get it right too.

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  3. That is so sad. They are so blessed to have you there to care for them. I loved those scripture verses. Blessings, sweet friend ~

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  4. I was taken in by the vide! Knowing what your post was about, though, made it difficult for me to laugh at the end of it. The statistics you give here are an eye-opening assessment of what is happening in our culture. My mind is reeling right now thinking, "What can we do to stem this tide?"

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  5. @Keystone: I was eating lunch as I read the comments and just had to stop and chew what you left here. What a struggle you had gone through. Yet that man's answer is an eye opener! "Nothing is impossible with God!" Amen.

    The more I had difficulty swallowing when I got to the verse you shared from Hebrews. I was going to include it. Yet, did not last minute, thinking that it would make my post longer. So, God did add His Word. Through you. And I almost choked here. Of why it's so important not to omit everything that God wants us to say or write. You blessed me. Always. God bless you and I'm glad that you won your daughters back. I've seen female inmates who could be meaner than men. Same thing with mothers, not all do great with their parenting skills. And I know that God blesses all who does good.

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  6. Very interesting and Keystone's comment was amazing!

    Blessings,
    Lisa

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  7. That sure is a lot of numbers to represent the souls in prison :( I'm working on that "love your ememy" thing myself. Oh how I wish the drama would go away. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  8. Praying GOD will heal and transform these many lives. I am overwhelmed with the statistics you posted. I suppose I never thought about that many "women" being incarcerated.

    Blessings, hugs, and prayers, andrea

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  9. I feel that I should share that I have a niece who spent over 2 years in prison do to crimes related to drugs. She re-committed her life to the Lord in prison and is now leading a life as a productive woman. She is married and has just given birth to a new daughter. She is at church every Sunday and faithfully attends NA meetings during the week. God really can and does transform lives. PLEASE pray that she continues in this life. The Lord and people like you and prayers have made all the difference in the world for her. Praise God! Blessings, Debbie

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  10. @sister Debbie: Thank you for your courage of sharing about your niece. I pray many more women like her would have a turn around and head back to the Lord Who is always forgiving and Who is willing to change our hearts. If we choose to let Him do so. May God continue to protect and strengthen your niece. God bless.

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  11. @ sister Andrea: Now it's becoming obvious to me whenever we do fishline [when we screen them for their medical clearance prior to being transferred to another facility]...We've been doing it more often now, which means, we are making room for newly-arrived ones. It is sad.

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  12. @ sister Beth: We are all work in progress. Just remain trusting in Him and be strong in His power. Blessings.

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  13. @ sister Lisa: I had met Keystone from another sister in Christ's blog and his comments are always powerful and some were his own life's journeys. Thank you for your visit. Blessings.

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  14. Thank you for your comments sisters Regina, Cathy and bro. Warren. I appreciate them. God bless.

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  15. Praying for these dear souls sis.

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  16. Thank you sister Denise...God bless.

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  17. What a gracious and loving Father we have. Your scripture in Ezekiel really speaks to me tonight. I am so thankful for his healing and renewing of spirit. Big hugs to you and be safe. Cherie

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  18. Wow, a lot of stats there Rosel. Thank God we do have Him! Loved the short video also. Brings a lot into perspective. Blessings.

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  19. Rosel, my husband has been working as a production supervisor at a women's prison in our area. He has become quite attached to the women he works with and many of them have shared some of their story with him.

    What we often don't realize/think about is that these women are just like all of us on the "outside." Families, friends, jobs . . . lives. Most often they made a bad decision -- sometimes desperate decisions -- and are paying the price.

    I do pray for them every night and I thank God people with hearts like yours and my husband's are working with and among these women.

    Yes, these statistics are disturbing and alarming. It's hard for me to hear about one individual when my husband shares her story with me--that makes it so personal.

    Very informative and enlightening post.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  20. Dear Rosel
    This post has touched my heart as do all the posts of yours that i have read.

    It is painful to read about all these stats about women in prison.

    I particularly love the verses from Ezekiel, Peter and Luke, about hearts being changed from stone to flesh...and compassion...and loving without strings attached.

    Such is the prison ministry that these women need...selfless love.

    I was also touched by one comment I happened to read, the one written by Keystone.

    So glad I visited today.

    May God continue to strengthen you as you find yourself in this place of desperation, anger, viiolence and hopelessness. May God's light shine through you.

    Love
    Lidj

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  21. those stats make me wonder why they would put women in prison when the cost to do it is so high...isn't it wiser to offer drug rehab or something other than prison? Good post Rosel and I sent that video to my friend, a mom of 4 kids and one more on the way. SHe's always cleaning.

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  22. @ sister Cherie: I love that verse which reminds me that the inner change only comes from the Lord. Blessings.

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  23. I appreciate your visit JBR! God bless.

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  24. @sister Mary: Thank you for sharing your hubby's job. I'm sure he had seen both the good and the bad things working with incarcerated women. It's not easy sometimes but because of Him, He strengthens us. I totally agree with you. They are just like us. Who made wrong decisions. We all do. The degree is the one that differs. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  25. @sister Lidj: I'm glad that you visited me. I am hoping that "Keystone" will have his own blog in God's perfect time :) As I feel that he will encourage many, many out here.
    It's not easy to be in this dark place but with the Lord's light, there is nothing to fear! God bless.

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  26. @sister Sarah: I honestly believe that even a rehab or anything else will not work if these people do not know the freedom that comes from knowing Christ. They might change for some amount of time but being trapped in whatever bondage they were in, there's just more chance of doing it all over again. There's nothing wrong with cleaning but overdoing it is too much especially if we're neglecting spending time with our children or family. I love to clean, too but I do it when my hubby is at work and my son at school. :) I hope your friend will laugh and at the same time will receive the message. God bless.

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  27. Hi Rosel,
    Seeing such statistics is so sad, but Matthew 19:26 sprang to mind as you shared about God changing hearts, with God, all things are possible.
    May the Lord continue to bless you as you serve Him in this important ministry.
    Also, your blog's format is kind of strange, it's like the post box is gone completely, while the sidebar box has filled the whole screen.

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"Faith is taking the first step even if you don't see the whole staircase..."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends