A pastor friend once said, “There is no love in prison.”
When you see the tall fences topped with razor wire, the guard towers and the dour faces of many who work behind the walls, it’s easy to feel that way. There’s an oppressive air to prison. Punishment, like humidity, takes the heat and makes it unbearable.
Jasmine Murphy, sophmore at Logan High School, speaking up for prison reform
Editor's note: Not long after Jasmine addressed the legislature, SB 379—the state's prison overcrowding bill—was passed. It gives judges the authority to grant early releases to nonviolent offenders, categorizes offenders in terms of risks vs. needs and treating them appropriately, and addresses technical parole violations that shorten time spent back in prison.
“I want to share with you a little bit about my life because I hope that maybe if I speak up, people who make the decisions that affect so many people’s lives will listen.”
As the West Virginia Economic Justice Project addresses prison overcrowding on a policy level, the Appalachian Center for Equality Youth Leadership Program explores the racial and economic injustices of the prison industrial complex and the impact this has on their lives.
Wahid was a participant in AFSC’s Friend of a Friend at the Maryland Correctional Institution – Jessup. While in the conflict resolution mentoring program, he shared his story with author and Friend of a Friend mentor Craig Muhammad.
The following story is taken from the chapter, “Dropping the Flag,” in the soon-to-be published book, From Jericho to Jerusalem: Organizing Street Organizations. It is one of several “testimonies” from young men who are former members of gangs, or what many refer to as street organizations.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.