‘Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me’.
In Kenya, as elsewhere, being released from prison does not always bring the freedom that people hope for. There is a terrible stigma attached to having been in prison and prisoners can be released to find there house has been taken over, their belongings sold and their family bitter towards them. Even church members have a fear of dealing with ex-prisoners – it is okay to go and preach to people in prison but to have to relate to them as free people is a very different thing. Many are keen to preach to prisoners but not to listen to their needs. There is much ignorance and stereo-typing which hinders ex-prisoners from reintegrating and resettling back in their community.
Thank-you Lord for all those who help people to reintegrate in many practical ways. Break down the prejudice and stereotyping, put aside fear and release your church to be a welcoming community for those released from prison . Amen
Written by Sheena Orr, Kenya