The Bible’s prophets rail against the mistreatment of widows and orphans. The marginalized did not enjoy advocates. They were alone. They were not directly connected to a man, the head of a family, someone with social standing, they had no one who spoke for them, who could demand justice. The prophets stood in the gap. The prophets spoke on God’s behalf— and did so loudly and repeatedly. The prophets reminded that, while society may have forgotten these, God had not. The God of heaven still sees what happens on earth.
Joseph House realizes that the issues of criminal justice are not as easily identified as that of being a widow or an orphan, Still, Joseph House dares to pick up the prophetic calling. Many of the men Joseph House serves entered the system as children with little to no advocacy on their behalf. Society looks at a child that commits a crime and labels the child as bad—a bad apple from a bad tree or, worse, a bad apple from a good tree and therefore without excuse. Joseph House dares to bring a Gospel word of “nurture” to bear upon destiny “nature.” Recent advances in child psychology reveal that neglect during childhood can manifest in crime, and especially into adulthood. Orphans act out because there is no one to care for them, to provide the basics of food, clothing, shelter, and education.
Joseph House believes there is a certain responsibility that society has to its members, most especially to its children. The orphans among us have grown up, and they have grown up in a harsh system that has punished them for their poverty. We believe that the biblical mandate to care for these orphans is as strong today as when they were children. Part of our philosophy then is not just to help them transition back into society with houses and jobs, but with homes and family. We desire to help heal the whole person, and to give them what they were denied as children, a community that cares through friendship, but also by providing resources. Core to our philosophy are the tenets that we care for the orphan, we prioritize healing (mind, body, and soul) from both childhood traumas and the brutal conditions of prison life, and through proximity, we aim to restore human dignity that has been lost.
-By Dr. Sonya Cronin, Co-Founder and Consultant of Joseph House