George Williams SJ: Easter on Death Row

San Quentin State Prison is an iconic American prison. Over 150 years old, it has witnessed thousands of prisoners pass through its massive iron gates. As all prisons, it has developed within its walls a spirit of oppression and cruelty. Over the past few decades it has witnessed the greatest growth in incarceration in American history. Since the late 1970s, penology in the United States has steadily turned away from hope in the power of rehabilitation and reform and has instead embraced an ideology of incapacitation and revenge. In the face of such cynicism and indifference to the plight of the incarcerated (and their families), Catholic prison ministry calls out more than ever for American Jesuits to become involved in what some have termed the “prison-industrial complex.”