This week the Department of Justice ordered the Bureau of Prisons to phase out the use of its 13 private prisons after officials released a report revealing these facilities are less safe, less effective, and have more frequent reports of violence than government-run prisons. Many advocates hail this as a step forward for criminal justice reform. This will not impact contracts with private prisons at the state level, nor federal private prisons which serve as immigration detention facilities.
We give thanks for U.S. leaders who are willing to make strides toward criminal justice policies which honor the dignity of prisoners. We pray for changes on the state level and for changes to immigration detention to come quickly in the wake of these decisions. Lord, we long for the day when corrections facilities will be places not for profit but for restoration.
Violence in South Sudan
Tens of thousands have died during two years of civil war in South Sudan—a conflict between those loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the former Vice President, Riek Machar, who is attempting to regain power. Both have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians. Last month a peace deal unravelled when violence broke out again and last week the former Vice President fled the country to escape attacks targeting him. With Machar away, the likelihood of reinstating a peace deal is unlikely, creating the potential for continued and increased violence throughout the country.
God, we lift up the country of South Sudan again and we pray for peace there. We pray for those who have violated human rights to be held accountable. We pray that those who have power would use it for the common good instead of personal gain. We pray for those who are most marginalized by this violence. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Suicide Bombing in Turkey
A suicide bombing killed at least 54 people at a wedding celebration in Turkey this week. At least 22 of the victims were children. This attack is reported to be the deadliest in Turkey this year. The identity of the individual who carried out the bombing is not known. Turkish officials believe the Islamic State is responsible for the attack, but no organizations has officially claimed responsibility.
As life in Turkey seems to get more violent each day, we pray, God, for peace and stability. We pray for those who are devising a plan to respond to this terrorism which is attempt to create chaos and destabilize the country. Give leaders wisdom, change the hearts of those bent on evil, and protect those who are vulnerable.
Colombian Government Signs Peace Deal
Colombia’s government secured a peace deal with FARC rebels (Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group) after half a century of fighting and a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands and the displacement of millions.The peace deal will require the FARC to renounce its armed struggle and transition to a legal political party. It all depends on the Colombian people accepting the deal, though, which will happen through a vote on October 2.
God, we pray for the future of Colombia, and for peace there. We thank you for those who have devoted their lives and energy to brokering this deal, and pray that it might be a step toward restoration for the decades of violence and grief that this conflict has caused. We pray for this upcoming vote—your will be done.