One of the institutions that God designed in this world is family. We know from looking around us that family is under attack in this world. In fact I believe it is on the top of Satan’s to do list to destroy this institution. He seeks to turn husband against wife, wife against husband, children against parents, parents against children and sadly He has been successful. The divorce rate is around 50 % and there are approximately 18 million children across the United States growing up in fatherless homes. Many of these fatherless homes are due to the fact that over a million fathers are incarcerated in the United States. This is the very reason why I believe courses like “Inside Out Dad” are important inside of prison. I have made this course from National Fatherhood Initiative, a priority in the prison I serve at because I want to help fathers increase their involvement, responsibility and commitment to their children and the mothers of their children even while incarcerated.
Another interesting fact is that the family is one of this country’s most valuable weapons in fighting crime. Prisoners who receive visitors, maintain family ties, and are released to a stable home environment are more likely to succeed in leading productive, crime-free lives. Families provide an incentive for prisoners to grow, learn, and change. It’s not always easy, but parents in prison can contribute positively to a child’s upbringing through letter writing, phone calls, and family visits. This is why it is important to pray for the families of the incarcerated and help them remain connected if at all possible.
I believe one of the overlooked set of people in this world is the families of the incarcerated. When the father goes to prison it creates a void in the home. There is really no way to replace it! I would like to challenge us as Christians to reach out to the families of the incarcerated. They are all around you, it may be your neighbor, the person you work with, or the family you attend church with. Reach out to them, not with a self-righteous attitude but with a caring one. They get judged daily by people just because their father has been incarcerated. When you caringly ask a mother how her child is coping with her father’s incarceration and offer to pray for the family, this is as much a ministry as sending children to summer camp or providing Christmas gifts. In fact, it may be even greater. We as Christians need to make time to boldly bring the needs of prisoners’ families before the throne of God! Or maybe you’re okay with the status quote. I’M NOT!