“Can Prisoners Be Reformed?”
That was the question posed on the cover of the May 8, 2001, issue of “Awake!” Many readers expressed appreciation for this series of articles, which included a report on the Bible-based educational program that Jehovah’s Witnesses are carrying out in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Following are some excerpts from the many letters received.
▪ “Having been a prisoner for the last eight years, I see that what is really successful is the Bible educational work that Jehovah’s Witnesses carry out in prisons. While I was in the penitentiary in Atlanta, I had the privilege of working with five of those shown in your article. I was so grateful for their love and support. I thank brothers like this, who show love to those of us who have made a mistake but are trying to correct it and become better people.”—R. J.
▪ “I am currently in a correctional facility, and brothers from the local Kingdom Hall were able to set up a wonderful teaching program here. As a result, a fellow inmate has been baptized, and I, though once disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, have now been reinstated. Many others are studying the Bible. It is encouraging to know that we are part of a global teaching work. How wonderful it is to serve Jehovah, no matter where we are!”—J. M.
▪ “In 1970, I was imprisoned for a crime I did not commit. I served a 14-year sentence. While in prison, I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was deeply impressed with their honesty and concern. After I was released, I continued studying and was baptized shortly thereafter. At times, I still feel frustration and anger over the injustice I endured. But I remind myself that in the near future, Jehovah will bring an end to all injustice and suffering. Prisoners can be reformed if they follow the instructions found in the Bible. They can also be grateful for the efforts of our hardworking brothers who give of their time to help them. I know I am!”—R. S.
▪ “I came to prison smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, using bad language, and feeling no respect for authority. I was also in a gang. In addition to all of that, I had been disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation. Now I am reinstated, and I am making good progress. Thanks to the truth, I feel that I am already free!”—I. G.