When I first saw the documentary “13th” on Netflix, I was shocked. Shocked and disturbed. Mass incarceration in America has become a crisis over the past 40 years. While Americans only make up 5% of the worlds population, we make up 25% of the worlds prison population. Holy cow! Statistics like this one are disheartening, but what I learned from this interview is that there is HOPE.
Cyril Prabhu is not native to the US, but upon his arrival here in his mid-20’s he realized there was a problem with our prison systems. Since he is a data miner by day, he did a lot of research on this topic and has found a practical way not simply to help people in prison, but to prevent people from ending up there in the first place. The government estimates that around 70% of people serving time in prison will actually end up back in prison within 3 months of their release. On top of that, children whose parents are in prison have upwards of an 80% chance of ending up in prison themselves. Knowing this information, Cyril founded an organization that intervenes in the lives of the incarcerated.
Through Proverbs 226 Ministries, Cyril works with children of incarcerated parents to reunite and bring healing to families. Their goals are to keep kids in school and to give parents a stable life once they are out of jail. The organization has only been around for 8 years, but the impact they have had in this time is huge! In this conversation, Cyril and I start by discussing the problem of mass incarceration and recidivism. If you don’t know what these terms mean, that’s okay, Cyril will tell you! You’re going to hear why this is such an issue and how it personally affects YOU, even if you don’t have any family members or friends who are currently associated with the prison system! While this is some hard news to hear, you’re also going to hear about how Cyril and Proverbs 226 are working to prevent this issue from growing and how YOU can be a part of it, no matter where you live!
And to my non-American listeners, I want to say that this episode isn’t just for folks who live in the United States. After you listen to what Cyril shares, I recommend you do some of your own research on incarceration statistics in country and look into how your prison systems are run. Perhaps this can inform what candidates you want to elect into public office, or it can possibly determine how you want to treat the most vulnerable people around you, like the homeless or the orphaned. Whatever it is, I hope you feel inspired just like I was to look out for the left out.
Links from the show:
About Chuck Colson:
“Are You Dancing in the Rain?” by Cyril Prabhu:
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