Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Letter From An Atlanta Jail

Yes, any implicit self-comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr. stop with the headline.

But seriously, last week I went to jail. Not for a civil rights protest, and no, not for being a great sinner, although I’ve had plenty of great sinning days, too.

I went to jail to visit a woman who is there because she was caught shoplifting $93 of merchandise ($93 of beer in fact, which is when you can chime in with “93 bottles of beer on the wall”…). She was shoplifting because she was drunk, and she was drunk because she is an alcoholic.

But I digress, because what I really want to say begins as I sat in the waiting room.

A clearly poor—(for a moment I thought he was homeless)—African American gentleman came in and sat down with his little boy. We began to talk. He was visiting a family member who had been languishing in jail for weeks and weeks now because of a sentence (a minor drug possession charge). They couldn’t pay the bail fee, but she had been assigned a public defender. The only problem was that the public defender didn’t seem to care about her legal predicament. He had never called or come to visit. So there she was in a kind of legal limbo land behind bars.

The take home for me? If you’re poor in this country and find yourself in trouble with the law, justice is often elusive.

Which is why tomorrow I hope you’ll tune back in for a very special treat—an interview with someone who is working to rectify this problem.

Previous Posts

Suicide, Depression and What Every Family Needs to Know
Today is the last day of National Suicide Prevention Month. That, and the suicide earlier this month of a young man in a church community in ...

posted 9:10:32pm Sep. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Mental Health Break — "On Melancholy Hill" and What's Up Next Here
Single motherhood for the next nine months — with my hubby traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C., thanks to a National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) research fellowship there — may reduce my presence here at this intersection. But I'm ...

posted 3:34:48pm Sep. 24, 2015 | read full post »

A Monk, A Man Behind Bars for Murder, and Their Life-Changing Correspondence
[caption id="attachment_5740" align="alignleft" width="400"] The U.S. locks up more people every year than any other country, including China, with a population roughly five times greater than that of the U.S.. 5% of the world's population ...

posted 8:37:11pm Sep. 16, 2015 | read full post »

This Old House: A Poem
              The dramatic transformation that our old house continues to ...

posted 9:19:25pm Sep. 11, 2015 | read full post »

2 Ways I'm Like Mr. Bean When On Retreat at the Monastery
It’s been a while since my last “retreat” at the monastery. The last time I was here, I was on ...

posted 4:25:13pm Sep. 09, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.