A Journey Behind Prison Walls: Delegation of Kentucky Catholics Brings Community to Penitentiary

By Gabriel, Margaret | National Catholic Reporter, September 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Journey Behind Prison Walls: Delegation of Kentucky Catholics Brings Community to Penitentiary


Gabriel, Margaret, National Catholic Reporter


When an inmate stands on the highest point of the grounds of the Kentucky State Penitentiary he can catch a glimpse of Lake Barkley, a reservoir of over 93,000 acres that touches counties in the western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee. The spectacular waterfront view beyond the prison's stone walls makes incarceration even more difficult for some, according to warden Glen Haeberlin.

The penitentiary at Eddyville, Ky., is the only maximum security facility in the state. Most inmates have been transferred from medium or minimum security facilities because they failed to adjust, Haeberlin said.

People might call Eddyville inmates "hardened criminals," Many serve life sentences for robbery and rape, or lengthy sentences for burglary and assault. Four distinct groups make up the population at Eddyville, each identified by the color of their jump suits. The general population wears khaki; protective custody inmates, kelly green; and those in segregation, the penitentiary "jail," wear canary yellow. The 36 men on death row wear bright scarlet. Rarely do the populations mingle.

Leaders of the Catholic church in Kentucky sought the chance to enter this world, to observe firsthand the implementation of criminal justice in their state. Following the release of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2000 document, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice," the Catholic Conference of Kentucky arranged the pastoral visit to the Eddyville penitentiary. Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville, Bishops John McRaith of Owensboro and Roger Foys of Covington, and members of the Kentucky conference's pro-life and social concerns committees traveled to meet with inmates and to celebrate Mass.

On the day of their trip to the penitentiary in the summer of 2002, conference committee members met first with Haeberlin in the prison chapel. Little identified the room as a place of worship: There was a peaceful picture of a sunset over a body of water. A sign on an altar stated, "Do not move without permission of chaplain. Do not place personal items on it." A chalkboard listed prayer concerns.

After a loud banging on the door to the chapel, inmates wearing kelly green were admitted. One of the men, Phillip Turner, 25, had been incarcerated for six years. Although baptized Catholic as an infant, practiced his faith very little when he was growing up. "My family was close, but I had very little spiritual life," he told the visitors. "After I met [Eddyville chaplain] Fr. [Robert] Drury, he helped me a lot. I really feel like I have a chance of making it."

Turner said he has enrolled in anger management classes and is working to change through spiritual exploration, studying scripture, theology and history. He added, "It's good to know that we can have community with people on the outside."

During his time in prison, Turner said, he has had the opportunity to learn about other religious traditions, including a discussion of Buddhism with the inmate in a neighboring cell. "The commandments they go by are not that different from the commandments given by Moses," Turner said.

He has heard Muslims talk about al-Qaeda and other issues currently in the news. "I was under the impression that most Muslims were terrorists, but they're not. Humans have a bad time lumping all people together, but we have to learn about others," Turner said. "We need to have roots in our faith, but when you learn from your brothers, you expand your knowledge."

Little attempt at rehabilitation

Fleece Johnson threw open the chapel door and called "Can I have everyone's attention please?"

The protective custody inmate was dripping sweat from the hot sun on the exercise yard. In a tense, anxious voice, he told his audience that after 20 years in prison, he was up for parole, but would be denied if he did not find a place to go within four months. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Journey Behind Prison Walls: Delegation of Kentucky Catholics Brings Community to Penitentiary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.