Snippets from Detention

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.
~John 1:5

…thrown out…

…i pray for my father’s death…
…i wanted to be president…
…i miss my children…
…i don’t need anybody…
…i have to be wanted…
…i wonder where god is…



Child Slavery is Bigger then Ever

York-led study finds homeless youth more vulnerable to crime

York-led study finds homeless youth more vulnerable to crime

A poem: “I am from nothing”

Below is a poem from mindy hardwick’s blog.  She facilitates poetry writing workshops in youth detention centers.  I think this really gives a glimpse into the mind of a youth in prison.  Especially the idea of being nothing and coming from nothing.


Written by a Teen Girl


I am from nothing.

A hole in the wall

An unnoticed fly on the ceiling

I am from deception

A never-ending circle of flies

A knife in the back of a friend
I am from perversion

The look on a man’s face

as he steals the innocence of a child.


I am from nothing

But I will not BE nothing.

Impact of Chaplain Programs on Discipline

The state of Florida did a study on the impact of participation in chaplain’s programs on discipline for those who are incarcerated.  The news is AMAZING!!  (DRs are Disciplinary Reports).  For the complete report, go here.

July Chapel Attendance Total Inmates Received DR DR%
0 times 21,363 2,001 9.4%
1-3 times 4,437 324 7.3%
4-9 times 2,004 119 5.9%
10+ times 937 37 3.9%
Statewide Average 72,075 5,083 7.1%


Marshgate Prison Chapel
Marshgate Prison Chapel

Detention: No Place for Kids

Hey…a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports:

  • Youth prisons do not reduce recidivism
  • Youth prisons waste taxpayer money
  • Youth prisons expose youth to dangerous and abusive conditions

But, the good news:

  • States have reduced their juvenile corrections populations
  • There has been no corresponding increase in juvenile crimes or violence


  • Limit eligibility for correctional placement
  • Invest in promising non-residential alternatives
  • Change the financial incentives for incarcerating youth
  • Adopt best practice reforms for managing youthful offenders
  • Replace large institutions with small, treatment-oriented centers for the dangerous few
  • Use data to hold youth correction systems accountable

View the complete report here:  No Place for Kids:  The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration


Some good news for Washington state…

The good news is that across the time period that this report talks about, Washington state decreased its juvenile detention population by about 600 youth.  And that Washington state is decreasing its occurrence of “maltreatment” of youth.

Recurring Maltreatment of Youth in Detention
Recurring Maltreatment of Youth in Detention

Bible Study Tonight: The Ten Commandments

Tonight, in the Youth Detention Center, we did a Bible study with the boys about the 10 commandments.  We let the youth write their own 10 commandments.  Everybody had to come to consensus on what was an agreeable commandment.  The consensus process was a little challenging, but the youth were great at the process!  I’m going to record as many as I can remember here!  Some were wise…and some were, well, interesting!

  1. Everybody gets what they need (and they work for it)
  2. Honor your elders (attitude)
  3. Obey God
  4. Help the poor
  5. Help the needy
  6. Be fruitful and multiply (but no prostitutes)
  7. Respect life (quite a discussion about what murder is and is not)
  8. Live the life you were given and do the best you can

As you can see, I can’t quite remember them all.  Maybe I’ll come up with them sometime in the middle of the night!

What would be the 10 commandments you would write?

Complementary Practices in Chaplaincy

From the Association of Professional Chaplains, “Complementary Spiritual Practices.”  Below are six practices I selected from the myriad offerings they have in their report.  I encourage you to read the breadth of practices they have and to consider where there are practices you can incorporate into your spiritual toolkit!

Practice:  Anointing with Oil
Description:  Religious Ritual Involving the Placement of Oil on Head or Body
Benefit: Spiritual Blessing, Connecting with the Divine & Community, Health Benefits from Increased Coping Resources

Practice:  Breath Prayer
Description:  Intercessory Prayer, Tonglen (Buddhist)
Benefit:   Increased Closeness to God, Positive Health Effects

Practice:  Confession
Description:  Multi-faith Practice
Benefit:   Health Benefits, Emotional Release, Reduction in Negative Feelings

Practice:  Forgiveness
Description:  Forgiving Others
Benefit:   Treatment of Various Disorders, Unblocking Spiritual Process, Positive Physical Effects of Lessened Stress

Practice:  Guided Imagery Visualization
Description:  Directed Imagination, Creation of Visuals, Images, and Events
Benefit:   Relaxation, Well-Being, Healing Effects

Practice:  Prayer or Mala Beads
Description:  Using String of Beads with Prayer or Meditation
Benefit:   Centeredness, Mindfulness, Interconnection with Others