Pope Francis Visits Prison
Pope Francis visited the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and brought visibility to the plight of families who have loved ones in prison.
Elise knew Pope Francis was visiting Philadelphia this weekend. With much of the city completely shut down to traffic and public transit was limited, that news was hard to miss. But she didn’t know until Thursday that the pope would actually be stopping by the place where her boyfriend is incarcerated. She doesn’t think Pope Francis’ visit to the prison and the attention it draws to incarceration will have much of an impact on her family’s life or change how the facility operates, but she figures it can’t hurt.
Seated a few feet away in the waiting room was Sheena, who was at the prison to visit her fiance, Kareem, who is awaiting trial on a firearms charge. The 30-year-old from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in North Philadelphia, was with her 28-year-old Kareem when he was arrested. They met in the neighborhood in 2011 and have been together ever since. Sheena is going to school to become a nurse; Kareem wants to become an electrician. Kareem had been working in construction, but with a bail set at $150,000, he couldn’t get out.
Pope Francis also spoke about how prison affects families during his many speeches and masses.
Before Pope Francis says mass in downtown Philadelphia, the first Jesuit pontiff will draw attention to the plight of prisoners and their families. As he wraps up his trip to the United States — which has the largest number of individuals behind bars as well as the highest rate of incarceration in the world — Pope Francis will be visiting the overcrowded prison facility in northeast Philadelphia.
It’s also important that people learn about the cost of calling loved ones in prison. To find out more about calling loved ones in prison go to Calling Your Loved One in Prison.
Steven said he’s “lost pretty much everything,” as his eyes welled up. He hasn’t seen his young son — “I don’t want him to see me in here,” he said — but he writes and talks to him on the phone every week. New Jersey is just across the Delaware River, but it is considered an out-of-state call, meaning Steven can’t use his 10 free minutes of phone time to chat with his son. His phone bills eat up nearly half of what he makes from his job in a month.
Read the entire article in the Washington Post.