Jesse James and Mixed Messages: Matt Brooks

Matt Brooks is an inmate in the Missouri Department of Corrections. I was introduced to Matt by my good friend, Josh Monk. Matt had an experience with Jesus Christ while in a local county jail. He and I have been corresponding ever since that time.

While in prison, Matt reads, writes, exercises, and tries to be a positive influence to others. This section of Matt’s writings concern the famed outlaw, Jesse James.

Why is a ruthless criminal famous?

Bang Bang! rang the sound from Jesse’s revolver, “Yah! Yah!,” yelled his brother Frank as they barreled around the corner to ride out on the plains.

“We’d better skedaddle out of here if we wanna get a jump on that Pinkerton bunch,” Jesse James said urgently. “You know they’ll have every law dog in this neck of Clay County on our heals, once they find we plugged one of their own!”

Every time I hear mention of the name Jesse James I’m reminded of the unbalanced justice system in place today. Portrayed as a dapper, chivalrous gentlemen during his robberies, was only to sell the nickel and dime novels he so proudly helped usher into the 20th century. They say money is the root of all evil, sitting right there central to, was Jesse James. Raised by a Baptist minister, I guess the goodness of the truth from the gospel would pass him by. He was set up on high as some sort of myth, or legend, when in all actuality he was savage, cold blooded, killer. Continue reading “Jesse James and Mixed Messages: Matt Brooks”

The Corrections Industry: Zach Bowers

Zach Bowers is an inmate in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He appreciates the outlet that provides him for the expression of his views. Next week, we will have an interview with his daughter in the blog.

Broken Industry

This industry of “correction,” that feeds its bottom line by the amount of bodies it pulls into its iron grasp, snared me at the age of 15. On May 11, 1997 I was charged as an adult in the Missouri courts. I was numbered and sent off to prison to fuel a broken industry.

What do I mean by “broken”? When an industry is built on the backs of suffering men and women who are in bondage, it is doomed to failure. Look at slavery! Missouri’s Department of Corrections is doing just that and is failing as an “industry.” More importantly, it is failing to fulfill its sworn service to correct and rehabilitate those who are housed in these stagnant prisons.

Evidence of its failure can be seen in the astronomically high recidivism rates Missouri DOC produces. Admittedly, the DOC has been tasked with a difficult job of persuading inmates to take up wholesome lives, as opposed to the drugs and gangs that are prevalent in prison.

However, it can be done. Continue reading “The Corrections Industry: Zach Bowers”

Newspaper Prayer: Friday, June 16th

Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, June 16, 2017

Russian Military Says It Might Have Killed ISIS Leader

Russia’s military said on Friday that it was looking into whether a Russian airstrike in the Syrian desert killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of the Islamic State, in what would be a major military achievement. Continue reading “Newspaper Prayer: Friday, June 16th”

Newspaper Prayers: Thursday, June 15th

Headlines from the New York Times for Thursday, June 15, 2017

Steve Scalise Among 4 Shot at Baseball Field; Suspect Is Dead

A lone gunman who was said to be distraught over President Trump’s election opened fire on members of the Republican congressional baseball team at a practice field in this Washington suburb on Wednesday, using a rifle to shower the field with bullets that struck four people, including Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives. Continue reading “Newspaper Prayers: Thursday, June 15th”

Newspaper Prayer: Tuesday, June 13th

Headlines from the New York Times for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sessions’s Senate Testimony: How to Watch and What to Expect

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify on Tuesday, starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, before the Senate Intelligence Committee about matters linked to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.  Continue reading “Newspaper Prayer: Tuesday, June 13th”

Newspaper Prayers: Monday, June 12th

Back from Vacation

I am back from vacation and greatly appreciate Stacy Busch’s work on the blog while I was absent. She added beautiful pictures from Iceland to ideas from Dr. Frank Laubach and daily prayers.

Headlines from the New York Times for Monday, June 12, 2017

‘We Are Not Unusual Anymore’: 50 Years of Mixed-Race Marriage in U.S.

For their first date, in 1949, Leon Watson and Rosina Rodriquez headed to the movie theater. But each entered separately. First went Ms. Rodriquez, a fair-skinned woman who traces her roots to Mexico. Mr. Watson, who is black, waited several minutes before going in and sitting next to her. Continue reading “Newspaper Prayers: Monday, June 12th”

Newspaper Prayers: Friday, June 2nd

Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, June 2, 2017

Maine’s Governor Wants Inmates to Fill Jobs, Not Prison Beds

Paul R. LePage, the brash and deeply conservative governor of Maine, has never been seen as an advocate of loosening punishments for criminals. He once joked that drug dealers should be publicly executed. He has seemed, at times, to support racial profiling in the pursuit of drug traffickers. And he has suggested that suspected domestic abusers wear ankle monitors, even if they have not been charged with crimes.

But last week, Mr. LePage conditionally commuted the state prison sentences of 17 male inmates, and is soon expected to commute the sentences of some female inmates as well. At the same time, his administration is reviewing whether he is legally allowed to commute the sentences of county inmates.

The commutations have flipped the political script in Maine. Mr. LePage is drawing cautious praise from advocates of civil liberties and supporters of shorter prison sentences for some crimes — groups that more often vehemently disagree with the governor. He is drawing anger from some of his fellow Republicans, who see the commutations as part of a political fight over a prison that Mr. LePage wants to close.

Readings from Isaiah 61.1-2 for Friday, June 2, 2017

Isaiah 61.1-2 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

Prayers for Friday, June 2, 2017

Dear God, please help us to be those who bring good news to the oppressed and release to the prisoners.

Bob Spradlingrose-quote