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Liske's lessons

"Liske's lessons" Continued...

Issue: "Effective Compassion," June 16, 2012

Do nice church folks tend to believe what they're told? Many people coming out of prison, particularly if they have a long history of crime, are incredible liars. They have survived by conning people. People need to get the training on our website. If you know someone who's been doing prison ministry for a while, ask to go along with him and learn what he knows.

Can college students help by working with children of prisoners? We know that at least five out of 10 of those kids will be incarcerated, if they have an incarcerated parent. Students on college campuses can get involved by being a mentor to a child at a local public school. Middle-schoolers just love having attention like that. Preventative things in breaking the cycle are just as important as how we deal with people coming home.

Conservatives a generation ago were advocating mandatory minimum sentencing and "three strikes you're out" policies. Have those worked? They haven't. The recidivism rate continues to climb. We do see a decline in violent crime, but not a large one. We see an increase in drug crimes, addiction crimes, white-collar crimes tied to drugs. Mandatory minimums have not changed that for us, and I've met prisoners who are now serving life sentences for three drug possession convictions-not sale, possession. We've incarcerated them at a very high cost instead of using electronic monitoring and parole.

Should churches receive more attention in these policy debates? An individual going through recovery needs a caring community, a grace-filled yet truth-believing organization that will say, "Come on. We will walk with you. We will hold you accountable. We will help you get what you need."

Watch Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Jim Liske:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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