Whoopie Pie Day was held at the Lancaster County Prison with a follow up Luncheon at the Eden Resort on December 13, 2022, 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Greeting A Christian Through the Bars
At 8 a.m., Justice & Mercy's ‘Circle of friends’ (who contributed $250. per person for the privilege to visit inmates for Christmas arrived at the prison ready to be a blessing. Every inmate received a friendly personal face-to-face greeting, a Christian Christmas card sharing the true meaning of Christmas and a Whoopie Pie directly through the bars. Justice & Mercy gave out over 1,100 Whoopie Pies and Christmas Cards to the inmates and the prison staff.
The Justice & Mercy ‘Circle of friends’ went to every cell block in the prison to let the prisoners know that God has not forgotten them, and that the Church cares about their present situation and their future. Justice & Mercy has been visiting inmates at Lancaster County Prison every Christmas for the past 15 years. Our mission is to let the prisoners and staff know that the Church showed up to bless them with the message of hope.
The special Christmas visitation went well, with the Spirit of God descending upon the prison and touching hearts. Each visitor felt like their visit made a difference in the lives of the inmates and in their own life as well. They were able to refocus their perspective to meeting needs to those who feel they’ve been forgotten. Jesus said, “I was in prison”, so we we’re looking for Him, and found Him among the least of these.
Our Guest Speakers Spoke with Great ideas and, We Prayed for Them
The ‘Circle of friends’ and additional luncheon guests arrived at 10 a.m. at the Eden Resort's Presidential Suite in Lancaster, PA. Guests were blessed to hear the testimonies from the a.m. visitation and Christmas card handout. Four guest speakers, which included Dr. Enos Martin, Psychiatrist of PrimeCare; Lancaster County Warden Cheryl Steberger, and the Volunteer Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, John Hargreaves presented.
David Lewis, the author of the book “Get Free Stay Free” gave an overview his book, in which each chapter is about an inmate who found freedom inside and outside of prison. David was accompanied by Keith Rodrigues, whose story is found in chapter two. David and Keith recounted on how Keith ended up in prison. Keith shared what God has done with his life since he was released from prison. (Interested in getting a copy of this book? Send us an email at: office. JusticeMercy@gmail.com).
We prayed for the speakers and laid hands each speaker before they spoke. The Spirit of the Lord was present as we talked about prison reform and how building the new Lancaster County Correctional Facility will assist in reducing recidivism rate. Many will agree that the prison system is far from perfect. However, on December 13th, we felt challenged to make it more just and more Godly, particularly for the least among us. Justice & Mercy is called to affect public policy for good, long with the continued support from our ‘Circle of friends’ we will continue to do so.
Looking for Jesus in Prison
Presently, our primary work is the Matthew 25:36 project, where Jesus says, “I was in prison, and ye came unto me”. Justice & Mercy, through the Pennsylvania Prison Society (PPS), has the right and responsibility to visit privately with any prisoner residing in County jail or a State Correctional Facility, throughout the State of Pennsylvania. Justice & Mercy is able to make a substantial difference in many prisoners lives through letters, phone calls, emails, and occasionally personal visits at the prison. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to visit all of the many requests we receive. That’s where our ‘Circle of friends’ are most needed. Justice & Mercy is in need of additional volunteers for regular monthly prison visits. Visitation training is supplied via Justice & Mercy and the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Interested? Call the Justice & Mercy office at (717) 823-3808.
Hearing Inmates Problems
Whenever inmate problems at the prison can be solved without a personal visit, it’s much more economical. The challenge lies in being able to understand the problems a prisoner faces, and then devise a solution that works for the prisoner, his family, the prison, and the citizens of Pennsylvania. This requires time, equaling $100 - $1,000 per solution. There is no true justice without some mercy. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect. No one can afford to throw the first stone. Justice & Mercy works hard to arrive at the right decision for everyone involved. Thank you for helping us do the right thing.
Tough Problems are a little Harder & Impossibilities Take a lot Longer & More Prayer
Of course, there are much tougher cases that we work on like alternate sentencing before a person goes to trail, helping deserving people get parole and a home plan that guarantees successful reentry into society. Then there are the innocent people who’ve been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, called wrongful conviction. Justice & Mercy has served on the Innocence Commission appointed by the Senate of PA for a three-year period, and we are amazed how many innocent people are serving a murder conviction where the exculpatory evidence has proved they’re innocent and they’ve been set free.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing only the tip of the iceberg. Finding the truth about innocence or guilt can be lengthy and expensive process. Along with other organizations, Justice & Mercy estimates that we’ve been able to help at least 300 people get released from prison in Pennsylvania, through discovery of exculpatory evidence or DNA testing. This process can take 5 - 20 years as the truth is not always easy to discover. The biggest problem with convicting an innocent person is that the real perpetrator is still free at-large committing more crimes. Justice & Mercy works at improving public policy and improving criminal justice as we know it, making sure to get the right perpetrator the first time.
Good relationships with Public Officials are Important & Prayer is More Important
After it’s all said and done, sometimes your prayers are the only thing that make the difference. Revelations 8:3-4 says, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” God still hears our prayers and the angel who stands before the throne is offering our prayers up to God. Please keep praying and giving, as God is still on the throne.
Dr. Tom Zeager, President
Justice & Mercy, Inc.