Archives for the month of: July, 2014


I took a road trip the other day from San Diego to Sacramento.  Normally, I take I-5 which is mile after mile of open space and farmland.  On this trip I decided to take the 99, because after an exhausting vacation, I needed a route with more diversity to keep me awake.

California’s history includes the tale of Father Junipero Serra who formed Catholic Missions one day’s walk from each other from San Diego to San Francisco.  These missions were the beginnings of some of the cities we have today.  It is called the mission trail and makes a beautiful sight-seeing trip for tourists.

I discovered yesterday, as I cruised my way north on 99 that it is the prison trail of California.  I passed towns with names like Avenal, and Atwater, and Corcoran and Chowchilla and wondered which came first the town or the prison.  It was a trail of towns where prisons were put in order to be away from the populated areas of California and towns grew around them.

I thought about the large prison population.  There are currently 117,000 prisoners in California which amounts to about .3% of the population.  These prisoners are jammed into prisons that are so overcrowded that the US Supreme Court is forcing California to reduce its prison population over the next two years.

In my book, Blessed-Are-They-That-Hunger , I have a chapter entitled “We Hunger For Justice”.  It talks about injustice in America and the racial bias of those incarcerated and on death row.  Thankfully, there are some of our leaders that are paying attention to this and fighting for change .

The reality of my previous blog on rehabilitation became real to me as I traveled those miles and passed those prisons.  I reflected about a state that incarcerates so many and wondered about our so called “free society”.  Freedom is not for all of our society and less so for those of a certain color or ethnic heritage. Maybe it is time for California to open up its prison gates and find a new way to reduce crime.


new jersey police

I saw Jersey Boys, a few days ago. It is the story of 60’s music group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Frankie and his friend Tommey Devito were a couple of young hoodlums with mob ties who made it big in the music industry.  What struck me most about the story was that with the kind of trouble these guys got into-robbing jewelry stores, stealing safes, wrecking vehicles-they were given such light sentences. Frankie was given no sentence because the older Tommy was made responsible for his actions.  This would never happen today.

What has happened to our legal system in the last 50 years? From 1930 -1975 the prison population was 106 per 100,000 of the US  population   and  in 2012 it was 716 per 100,000.

According to a  2001 study

“The past 30 years have seen enormous changes in the philosophy and practice of sentencing and

corrections. The strong emphasis on rehabilitation that existed for the first seven decades of the 20th

century gave way in the 1970s to a focus on fairness and justice, by which sentences reflected “just

deserts” rather than a utilitarian motive. Sentencing practices later moved toward a crime-control model

that emphasized incarceration as a way to reduce crime in the community; this crime-control model

became increasingly popular during the 1980s and 1990s. Discussion of sentencing and corrections in

the 21st century must begin with a review of these changes and their impact on the criminal justice


In Jersey Boys the reaction of the cops to the trouble making of Frankie and Tommy was a “boys will be boys” attitude.  In today’s legal system the punitive nature of current sentencing would have ruined their young lives and they never would have had the chance to achieve the kind of success that they enjoyed.

I have often reflected on the craziness that I did in my youth.  Had today’s police force visited one of the many “busted” parties that I attended, I wonder if my life would have been different.  We were just told to go home.  There were no searches-no arrests. There were no laws to incriminate homeowners.  There was a “kids will be kids” –“no harm no foul” attitude.  Libertarians talk about crimes that are victimless and non-violent-like drug use and addiction-as laws that should have minimal to no sentencing.  When will our citizens stop paying the price for an unjust legal system?

Rehabilitation is not even part of today’s discussion on crime-incarceration is harsh and based on a punitive evaluation.  Criminals are no longer viewed as flawed human beings who may have been led into crime through an environment beyond their control in their upbringing or a medical condition like a drug addiction. There is a “punishment fits the crime” mentality with very little allowance for individual considerations.

Police forces are given more freedom to arrest under any circumstance  and police violence on innocents is growing. So the trend is getting worse not better.

How big does our prison population have to be before some change will happen?  It is time to rehabilitate America’s rehabilitation and incarceration system.  Who will lead the charge?




One of my favorite fairy tales just had a liberal Hollywood redo.  I suspected as much as I saw the previews for the film.

I have always loved Disney because its stories were great analogies of true good and evil that exist in our world.  As the lines get blurred (yes, I’m talking to you Robin Thicke) in our society, so are the new remakes of these stories.

Morality is no longer black and white but “50 Shades of Grey” and with it good and evil.

There is confusion over who really is to blame for the murderous group Isis , or the immigration crisis  , and good Christians are maligned over standing up for Christian Values  in our “One Nation Under God”.

And so in the remake of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent, we find out that the wicked fairy Maleficent is not really so evil and her evil was justified by a traumatic assault that she received at the hand of the man she loved.  She is not only less evil than her depiction in the original story, she actually has become the heroine in the retelling. (Spoiler alert) It is her love that brings Princess Aurora back to life.

Why does this make me sick?  It makes me sick because true evil makes me sick. Sin makes me sick.  The Bible says –

James 1:15New Living Translation (NLT)

15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Sin and evil destroy.

You don’t have to look very far to see the results of declining morals in America today. One in ten  Americans are taking anti-depressants, and the suicide rate has increased 30% from 1999 to 2010 with more Americans now dying from suicide than auto accidents.

If we gloss over sin and evil in this world and white-wash it away we will be destroyed by it.

The Bible warns us that-  I Cor. 11:14 Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Don’t be fooled by the false light of evil.

John 1:8-10New Living Translation (NLT)

8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Let us seek the true Light-and find peace in a world of chaos.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7