Prisons, Poverty & The Chruch

From the mid-1970’s to today, the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. has quadrupled, from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million, largely due to the “war on drugs.”

The Department of Justice estimates that states and the federal government combined spent $80 billion on corrections in 2010. One in every three black males born today can expect to do prison time at some point in their lives. Compared to 1 in every 6 Latino males, and 1 in every 17 white males.

quote connie


Prison Policy Initiative


Prison Policy Initiative exposes the broader harm of mass criminalization, and sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society. Click here for their website.

Suggested Reading

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Introduction by Cornel West (The New Press, 2012)

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis (Seven Stories Press, 2011)

Interrupted Life, Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the Untied Sates by Rickie Solinger, Martha L. Raimon, Tina Reynolds, Ruby Tapia, (University of California Press, 2010)

From Prison Cell to Church Pew, The Strategy of The African American Church Edited by Gloria Askew and Gayraud Wilmore, ITC Press, 1993

Death Defying, Dismantling the Execution Machinery in the 21st Century by Pam McAllister, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003

Poverty & The ChurchKids + white.001

Suggested Reading

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, (SmileyBooks, 2012)

Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes by Robert McAfee Brown (Westminster John Knox Press, 1984)

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D Aha! Process, Inc. 1996

What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty by Bill Ehlig & Ruby K. Payne, Aha! Process, Inc. 1999

An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory by Dr. Jawanza Kunjuf, African American Images, Chicago, Illinois, 2006

Justice for the Poor by Jim Wallis and Sojourners, Zondervan, 2010

The Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Gutierrez Orbis Books, 1973

Introducing Liberation Theology by Leonardo and Clodivis Boff Orbis Press ,1988

Living the Heart of Christianity, A Guide to Putting Your Faith into Action by Marcus J. Borg & Tim Scorer, HarperSanFrancisco, 2006