JFP: Clergy, Bomgar Call for End to Mass Incarceration, Private-Prison Reform

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

— Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, stood with an interdenominational Christian group of clergy Wednesday at the Capitol, saying that mass incarceration serves none of his beliefs as either a Christian or as a Republican.

“As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of the life of all humans. As a Republican, I believe in small government. Nothing about mass incarceration is small government,” he said.

Bomgar talked about the negative effects that incarceration has on Mississippi’s citizens, saying that in most cases, drug rehabilitation or mental health care would have served the needs of incarcerated people better.

“Incarceration is not the right tool a large percentage of the time,” he said.

Bomgar says mass incarceration needs a paradigm shift, and that incarceration has been used to punish, rather than to rehabilitate.

“Any time you have a human being that is in control of the state—foster care, juvenile justice—when a human being is a ward of the state, it’s very important that we treat them like a human being made in the image of God, which they are,” Bomgar told the Jackson Free Press. “Unfortunately, I think, in numerous situations when the state controls people, it leads to abuse and all sorts of bad outcomes, and the greatest danger is people come out worse than when they went in.”

Read more at the Jackson Free Press.