Prison Diary: It's Not a House

Say a prayer for the incarcerated this Christmas season.

I like to use this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy's sake. Amen.
Something Joe said to me one Monday night haunts me. They call the various cellblocks on the unit "houses." We have guys in our study from "houses" 3, 4, 18, and 19.

So I asked Joe one night, "What house are you in?"

"It's not a house," Joe replied. "I never call it a house. It's a cell."

I'll be praying for those without houses this Christmas season.

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