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Prison and the Bible: Current Practices and Reflections from Isaiah

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image of International Journal of Public Theology

There is wide agreement today that our prison system is fraught with problems. Opinion associates prisons with overcrowding, racism, human debasement, and with an inability to accomplish the reduction of crime. Further, there is also a partial antipathy ascribed to the general populace. Practically, citizens want governmental systems to provide for our security. Ideologically, there is a sense that leniency is foolhardy. However, as religious communities often equate crime with sin writ large, there is also a need to pursue wholeness in society. One way to do this is by reflecting on how punishment, prison in this case, can relate to restoration. This essay proceeds by examining the idea of imprisonment from two perspectives: by considering the history of prisons and current practices in the state of Oregon, and from the perspective of biblical literature. Thoughts on how a biblical perspective can engage culture follow this analysis.

Affiliations: 1: Corban University SalemUnited States ; 2: Corban University SalemUnited States


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