The article "Stone Upon Stone" (by Hans Hallundbaek, March-April 1999) brought tears to my eyes as I have a "son" in prison. How I wish the opportunity for such a seminary program were in every prison in the country.
In response to your question, "Is there a way to expand such a program to address the unmet needs of people before they reach the prison system?" I draw on my experience working at Beacon Neighborhood House, a Presbyterian settlement house in Chicago. My concern has always been for the very young of our society.
Research shows that a persons future development is very much determined during the first three years of life. Therefore I believe what is needed is a daily eight-hour preschool program for children, especially children at risk. Such a program would offer love, limits, reading, music, and faith grounding, with strong parental participation.
When will our society be willing to commit money to such early childhood programs rather than to building more prisons? I believe that if my "son," now in prison in Illinois, had such an opportunity early in his life, he would be living very differently today.
Phyllis T. Albritton, Blacksburg, Virginia