Photo by Caleb Oquendo

Our society contains many different family make-ups. There are single-parent families, same-sex-parent families, blended families, and so on. We still have some traditional families – a mother, a father, and one or more children. ‘Family’ was God’s creation at the beginning of time: Genesis 1:27 – “HE CREATED THEM MALE AND FEMALE. GOD BLESSED THEM, AND GOD SAID TO THEM, ‘BE FRUITFUL, MULTIPLY, FILL THE EARTH AND SUBDUE IT.’ And Jesus said they are to leave their fathers and mothers, and the two will become one flesh. “SO THEY ARE NO LONGER TWO, BUT ONE FLESH. THEREFORE WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER, MAN MUST NOT SEPARATE.” Mark 10:8-9 (Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Bible.)

It is obvious that God intended the family to be a man, a woman, and whatever offspring He gives them. He allowed the unit to be broken only because of adultery which is prohibited in the ten commandments. Do we see it that way in our society today? NO! There are many reasons (excuses) for granting divorce legally. However, Man’s law does not change God’s intentions (Commands). The basic instructions of one man, one woman, and their children being the family unit have not changed. All the different ways of defining’ family’ are man’s creations. Even the blessing of a United States Court does not modify God’s plan.

Numerous problems we deal with in our society come from not following His plan for the family. I’m going to relate to one area in this blog – prisons and the millions (mostly male) who are in them. Many convicts would not be there if God’s family plan had been followed. Going to prison doesn’t eliminate family relations. In fact, often being locked away makes one long for relationships with parents or siblings, even those he shunned in the past. It works both ways; family members on the outside wish for real connections with the incarcerated one. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice recognizes the value of restoring or maintaining family ties. Family visits are encouraged (within security guidelines). 

When Dr. Keith Price was warden at the Darrington prison unit, he and chaplains found ways to make it easier and more comfortable for family members and inmates to have visits. Over time those efforts resulted in noticeably less violence and other problems. At that time, Darrington was known as one of the units with the most violence and problems among inmates. Family involvement and other measures helped change Darrington’s reputation. Convicts have a lot of time on their hands. If that time can be used in thinking of what’s going on in the lives of children, parents, wives, etc., rather than in planning new crimes, they have a much better attitude. That not only benefits TDCJ and the inmate but family members get a healthier feeling about the one incarcerated, learning he’s not a monster. 

Even if we disobey society’s laws and God’s commands but return to them, we benefit from stronger family relationships again. This applies to all situations – not just prison. In my book “REAL PRISON REAL FREEDOM,” you will find more about Dr. Keith Price, one of the best wardens TDC J ever had. You’ll also see the family ups and downs of Rickie Smith, the ‘most violent man in Texas Prison’ and the main character in the book. 

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