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A Call for Outrageous Justice By Heather-Rice Minus

What is Outrageous Justice?

God has called His people to seek justice. But our criminal justice system is so complex. How can followers of Jesus have a clear understanding of current issues? How can they act and promote restoration?

Outrageous Justice is Prison Fellowship’s small group curriculum designed to educate and equip Christians on criminal justice reform. The curriculum provides hands-on ways to pursue justice and bring about true hope, restoration, and healing.

This curriculum weaves current events, biblical context, and personal stories into a compelling conversation. It discusses how to minister to those impacted by crime and incarceration. And it looks at how to influence positive changes in our criminal justice system.

The materials include a study guide, video teaching segments, and first-person stories of people impacted by crime and incarceration. There is also a companion book that gives in-depth insights. It’s written by some of the leaders of Prison Fellowship.

The Church and Its Response

Most Christians know that God calls His people to visit the prisoner and seek justice. But many of us don’t have a clear understanding of the issues. Prison Fellowship believes the Church has a unique capacity to minister people in prison, care for families impacted by incarceration, and be a welcoming place for people coming home from jails and prisons.

We also want to help the Church awaken to the complexities and injustices in our criminal justice system. And we want to equip them to respond.

We believe that when policies align with scriptural values, they bear fruit in the form of transformed lives and communities. But we also know that politics is downstream from culture. If we want to change public policy, we have to start with culture. That’s what we’re doing with Outrageous Justice.

We’ve found that 94% of participants surveyed after using the curriculum reported increased awareness about criminal justice issues. The majority also reported taking action to advance reform or minister to people impacted by crime and incarceration.

Relevant Issues

The curriculum talks about everything—from why we should be outraged by the injustices of our system to what the Bible says about the topic of justice. We look at some of the broader issues facing the system. And we also zoom in on some of the details to help participants really understand the issues.

It’s all based on our values of proportional punishment, corrective prison culture, and second chances. The study explores these themes and topics from the perspective of law enforcement, former prisoners, and victims.

A Call to Action

Designed to be used as a small group study in local churches, we offer digital materials so groups can meet remotely, and we offer virtual online groups hosted by Prison fellowship staff. We want groups to find ways to care for people in their congregation or community affected by incarceration. And we want them to get involved in justice reform.

We’re trying to raise up 100,000 Christians who will be educated, equipped, and ready to respond to the crisis of crime and incarceration through ministry and engaging their elected officials in reforming the criminal justice system.

Outrageous Justice is helping us do that. Every session includes suggested action steps for how to put what you’ve learned and discussed into action.

Next Steps

Prison Fellowship provides free Outrageous Justice curriculum (including free shipping!) on our website. I encourage everyone to get it for themselves and then utilize it in a small group.

If you don’t have a group to join, we are starting to launch online study groups. Join this Facebook page to keep an eye out for new online groups being started.

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Heather Rice-Minus serves as vice president of government relations and church mobilization at Prison Fellowship. She directs national advocacy initiatives and campaigns on pivotal criminal justice issues at the federal level. She also spearheads Prison Fellowship’s efforts to awaken and equip churches and build coalitions with advocacy groups, think tanks, faith-based organizations, and other key stakeholders.

Thank you to Prison Fellowship Ministries for their sponsorship of the Higher Thinking Blog!

 

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