Jentezen Franklin Ask Believers to Act Today on Prison Reform

Jentezen Franklin Ask Believers to Act Today on Prison Reform

The First Step Act is bipartisan legislation that can inflict a serious blow on our enemy. Jentezen Franklin discusses the critical bill that will be brought to Congress this week and what believers can do for prison reform.

16 Minutes • 6 months ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Pastor Jentezen Franklin

Prison Reform

Pastor Jentezen Franklin says the time is now for Congress to “do the right thing” and pass The First Step Act legislation, which aims to reduce the number of inmates in the nation’s crowded prisons. If voted into law, the bill would give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes, particularly drug offenses, and strengthen rehabilitation programs for prisons. 

Franklin says this legislation is a “no-brainer.” He spoke with Charisma’s Jessilyn Lancaster about it on Charisma Connection:

Jessilyn Lancaster: Welcome to the show. My name is Jessilyn and today we're here with Pastor Jentezen Franklin to talk about prison reform and the First Step Act. We are so excited. You're here today to talk about this very important issue. I read the news a lot. I follow the news, I'm aware of what's happening. But for listeners who don't know what the First Step Act is, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Pastor Jentezen Franklin: It's something that's so important to the faith community because I believe that the heart of the First Step Act is redemption; actually an opportunity to give non-violent prisoners a chance to rebuild their life. And if they, through years of good record and contributing and taking care of their families do right, then they can actually have the word felon taken off of the permanent record and be able to get better jobs and be able to build their families for generations with blessing instead of the curse of having that word. Many of these people are, again, non-violent criminals who, when they were young, made terrible choices and decisions, maybe sold drugs, maybe because of the three strikes out laws that was passed, the prisons are greatly overcrowded. They were kids when they did it, they were just not thinking straight. Now they're older men in their 30s and they could be released. They've not had one incident in prison. But because of the three strikes and you’re out, they’re in there almost, some of them, for life. This is just one example. But we've got to have a system that gives people a chance to rebuild their lives. 

Interesting Statistics

·         Number of inmates in federal prisons swelled from 25,000 in 1980 to more than 205,000 in 2015

·         Taxpayer spending on federal inmates has increased from $330 million to $7.5 billion from 1980 to 2015

 

Jessilyn Lancaster: Now, you mentioned in the beginning that this is really important for the faith community. What impact does it have on the body of Christ?

Jentezen Franklin: Many people in the faith community, first of all, helped put this deal together. Jared Kushner and the president, people like Paula White, people like Reverend Darryl Scott, and I could go on and on, Bishop Harry Jackson, many people who have been involved in prison ministry for decades were involved. I know our ministry was involved because we have prison ministry every week, people who go into the prisons. So, we listen, we listen to the prisoners, we listen to the families of victims. We listened to all kinds of people. We came up with this conclusion that the only thing that really works long term is to get the faith-based ministries involved in the rehabilitation of these people’s lives.

And that means several things. First of all, it means we need to try to get the prisoners close enough to the families that they can still have communication with their families. And, we need to get those faith-based ministries in the areas where prisons are easier access so that they can connect to the families when the prisoners are out. The families are already connected to the church and the ministries are already going in and ministering to the prisoners. When that happens, the re-entry on prisoners going back into prison is cut dramatically. This is not just hearsay. It's a fact, and we know that the answer is in getting people you know introduced we believe to Jesus Christ and that's why we're pushing this so strongly. We know it takes more than willpower. It takes faith to heal these families, to heal these prisoners and to turn their lives around.

 

This Bill Would:

·       *  Lower Lifetime mandatory minimum sentences for people with prior non-violent drug felony convictions to 25 years

·       * Would reduce 20-year mandatory minimum sentences for similar offenders to 15 years

·       * Not be retroactive 

Connecting with Family

Jentezen Franklin: Some of this stuff is just common sense, but it is amazing how many prisoners or four or five states away from their own families. They never get this connect with their families, they never get to see loved ones. If you can move those prisoners to prisons better that are closer to their family and again, we are working with the families and we're connecting and creating a culture in the families that is inviting to that prisoner as soon as they get out. The church is already connected to that family, and that's a big deal. It's going to help them. We also are working on job placements through faith-based ministries or churches in that community. It's really a community issue. It's really a Matthew 25 issue.

 

·         Matthew 25: 35-40: For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’”

When Jesus said, “I was in prison and you helped me.” And they said, “When did you help you? We didn't come to see you or do anything for you in prison? And Jesus said when you did it unto the least of these, when you care for their families, when you help them get their life back together, when we gave them a second chance or third chance and they finally got it together, you did it unto me. 

Key Senators Working With President Trump on Reform

·         Tom Cotton (R-Ark)

·         Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)

·         Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

·         Mike Lee (R-Utah)

·         Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

·         Tim Scott (R-SC)

·         Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill)

 

Breaking Generational Curses

Jessilyn Lancaster: We at Charisma know a lot about generational curses. How can this legislation really be a weapon in spiritual warfare to break those generational curses?

Jentezen Franklin: Absolutely this is dealing with generational curses not only of behavior but even of poverty and education and illiteracy and on and on and on. We're talking about many of the people that the First Step Act will help; the under-educated, the people who have, for generations, been locked into communities and systems that did not allow them to even dream and get them a decent-paying job. I'm very excited about it. I feel like it's the greatest thing that could impact generations that has happened, honestly, in my lifetime I've been involved in politics to a minimum degree, I guess. But, more so with this administration because the door has been opened more. This is it not even a political issue, it's a human issue. It's a family issue. And when we help the prisoners, we help the children, we help the children's children. Imagine with me if you had committed something when you were 21 years old, a non-violent crime, it was wrong. It was a terrible decision, but you were stupid, you were young. Say you were 18 and you did something that was dumb and you have to pay for that the rest of your life because you got involved with the wrong people. But what if you saw a pathway in about five years. You work. you get a GED, you do this you go through this door, you take this path and you follow the rules and you stay out of trouble in prison. You get out and you served your time. Now, if I keep doing this for two or three years, I hold a job, I stay connected to community, they connected to faith-based programs, then guess what? I can get a better job, I can pass on blessings. My faith will be a testimony to my family for generations to come.

For the rest of Pastor Franklin’s interview, click here.

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Pastor Jentezen Franklin

Prison Reform

Pastor Jentezen Franklin says the time is now for Congress to “do the right thing” and pass The First Step Act legislation, which aims to reduce the number of inmates in the nation’s crowded prisons. If voted into law, the bill would give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes, particularly drug offenses, and strengthen rehabilitation programs for prisons. 

Franklin says this legislation is a “no-brainer.” He spoke with Charisma’s Jessilyn Lancaster about it on Charisma Connection:

Jessilyn Lancaster: Welcome to the show. My name is Jessilyn and today we're here with Pastor Jentezen Franklin to talk about prison reform and the First Step Act. We are so excited. You're here today to talk about this very important issue. I read the news a lot. I follow the news, I'm aware of what's happening. But for listeners who don't know what the First Step Act is, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Pastor Jentezen Franklin: It's something that's so important to the faith community because I believe that the heart of the First Step Act is redemption; actually an opportunity to give non-violent prisoners a chance to rebuild their life. And if they, through years of good record and contributing and taking care of their families do right, then they can actually have the word felon taken off of the permanent record and be able to get better jobs and be able to build their families for generations with blessing instead of the curse of having that word. Many of these people are, again, non-violent criminals who, when they were young, made terrible choices and decisions, maybe sold drugs, maybe because of the three strikes out laws that was passed, the prisons are greatly overcrowded. They were kids when they did it, they were just not thinking straight. Now they're older men in their 30s and they could be released. They've not had one incident in prison. But because of the three strikes and you’re out, they’re in there almost, some of them, for life. This is just one example. But we've got to have a system that gives people a chance to rebuild their lives. 

Interesting Statistics

·         Number of inmates in federal prisons swelled from 25,000 in 1980 to more than 205,000 in 2015

·         Taxpayer spending on federal inmates has increased from $330 million to $7.5 billion from 1980 to 2015

 

Jessilyn Lancaster: Now, you mentioned in the beginning that this is really important for the faith community. What impact does it have on the body of Christ?

Jentezen Franklin: Many people in the faith community, first of all, helped put this deal together. Jared Kushner and the president, people like Paula White, people like Reverend Darryl Scott, and I could go on and on, Bishop Harry Jackson, many people who have been involved in prison ministry for decades were involved. I know our ministry was involved because we have prison ministry every week, people who go into the prisons. So, we listen, we listen to the prisoners, we listen to the families of victims. We listened to all kinds of people. We came up with this conclusion that the only thing that really works long term is to get the faith-based ministries involved in the rehabilitation of these people’s lives.

And that means several things. First of all, it means we need to try to get the prisoners close enough to the families that they can still have communication with their families. And, we need to get those faith-based ministries in the areas where prisons are easier access so that they can connect to the families when the prisoners are out. The families are already connected to the church and the ministries are already going in and ministering to the prisoners. When that happens, the re-entry on prisoners going back into prison is cut dramatically. This is not just hearsay. It's a fact, and we know that the answer is in getting people you know introduced we believe to Jesus Christ and that's why we're pushing this so strongly. We know it takes more than willpower. It takes faith to heal these families, to heal these prisoners and to turn their lives around.

 

This Bill Would:

·       *  Lower Lifetime mandatory minimum sentences for people with prior non-violent drug felony convictions to 25 years

·       * Would reduce 20-year mandatory minimum sentences for similar offenders to 15 years

·       * Not be retroactive 

Connecting with Family

Jentezen Franklin: Some of this stuff is just common sense, but it is amazing how many prisoners or four or five states away from their own families. They never get this connect with their families, they never get to see loved ones. If you can move those prisoners to prisons better that are closer to their family and again, we are working with the families and we're connecting and creating a culture in the families that is inviting to that prisoner as soon as they get out. The church is already connected to that family, and that's a big deal. It's going to help them. We also are working on job placements through faith-based ministries or churches in that community. It's really a community issue. It's really a Matthew 25 issue.

 

·         Matthew 25: 35-40: For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’”

When Jesus said, “I was in prison and you helped me.” And they said, “When did you help you? We didn't come to see you or do anything for you in prison? And Jesus said when you did it unto the least of these, when you care for their families, when you help them get their life back together, when we gave them a second chance or third chance and they finally got it together, you did it unto me. 

Key Senators Working With President Trump on Reform

·         Tom Cotton (R-Ark)

·         Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)

·         Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

·         Mike Lee (R-Utah)

·         Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

·         Tim Scott (R-SC)

·         Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill)

 

Breaking Generational Curses

Jessilyn Lancaster: We at Charisma know a lot about generational curses. How can this legislation really be a weapon in spiritual warfare to break those generational curses?

Jentezen Franklin: Absolutely this is dealing with generational curses not only of behavior but even of poverty and education and illiteracy and on and on and on. We're talking about many of the people that the First Step Act will help; the under-educated, the people who have, for generations, been locked into communities and systems that did not allow them to even dream and get them a decent-paying job. I'm very excited about it. I feel like it's the greatest thing that could impact generations that has happened, honestly, in my lifetime I've been involved in politics to a minimum degree, I guess. But, more so with this administration because the door has been opened more. This is it not even a political issue, it's a human issue. It's a family issue. And when we help the prisoners, we help the children, we help the children's children. Imagine with me if you had committed something when you were 21 years old, a non-violent crime, it was wrong. It was a terrible decision, but you were stupid, you were young. Say you were 18 and you did something that was dumb and you have to pay for that the rest of your life because you got involved with the wrong people. But what if you saw a pathway in about five years. You work. you get a GED, you do this you go through this door, you take this path and you follow the rules and you stay out of trouble in prison. You get out and you served your time. Now, if I keep doing this for two or three years, I hold a job, I stay connected to community, they connected to faith-based programs, then guess what? I can get a better job, I can pass on blessings. My faith will be a testimony to my family for generations to come.

For the rest of Pastor Franklin’s interview, click here.

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Jentezen Franklin Ask Believers to Act Today on Prison Reform