The prisoners we meet in Wounded Wounders are wounders, who have themselves been wounded. They entrust their stories--told in their own words--to a companion, an incarcerated former Roman Catholic priest. They have never shared their stories before; there has never been anyone to listen or to care. What is revealed behind the tough, tattooed exteriors is a common humanity, and the unquenchable Divine Spark that refuses to be quenched.
Prisons are warehouses of human potential, graveyards of the human spirit. Whatever is good, hopeful and humane is gradually displaced within the inmates committed to them. In this brutal, surreal world of fear and degradation, kindness is perceived as weakness, and to be weak is to become vulnerable. Trust and intimacy are virtually non-existent.
Most prisoners enter the criminal justice system as juveniles. Over 60% are illiterate, 80% have drug-related issues, minorities are a disproportionate percent of the population. Out of these realities, these stories come.
Listening to these men, stereotypes fade into the realization that they are more than their crimes. When touched by the love of God and authentic human caring, they reach for their dreams and what is good begins to blossom. They hope, hurt and seek redemption no less than the rest of us.
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March 17, 2001
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