Prison Theology: A Theology of Liberation, Hope and Justice


  • Sadie Pounder

    1. Sadie Cantone Pounder is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked in the prison setting as a mental health professional, a volunteer in prison ministry and intern at an ELCA prison congregation. She is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and is in the call process for congregational and prison ministry.
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Abstract:  In our nation today, the number of prisons and prisoners continue to grow at rates that are out-of-control. One in 100 of our citizens is in jail or prison, the highest ratio in the world. Unlike the poor, homeless, critically ill, and elderly, those in prison are separated from us to the degree they are unseen. Unseen also, is the oppressiveness of the criminal justice system that oversees more than 6.5 million people either in confinement or on probation or parole. Liberation theology, which advocates and works toward freeing people from oppression, includes feminist, black, womanist and Latino/Hispanic movements. This article proposes prison theology as part of the liberation theology family and identifies a prison theology based on liberation, hope and justice. It encourages a prison theology movement led by the church to liberate those under the oppressiveness of the criminal justice system, especially those confined and to energize a passion for justice and compassion for the oppressed throughout the criminal justice system.