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August 2007
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Casting the first stone at the mote in the prodigal son’s eye…

Perhaps because I’m a preacher’s kid, it bothers me especially when I see so-called “Christians” who appear to have never read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
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Becknell — a devout Christian known to many as “Brother John” — pulls out a pen and an inch-thick docket, mostly of drug and alcohol cases. For the next three hours, he takes diligent notes on the judge’s actions, the attendance of police officers, repeat offenders making another appearance, and so on.
The purpose? To make sure drug offenders in eastern Kentucky are getting what they deserve. […]
The Community Church of Manchester is leading the way through “Court Watch,” a program in which volunteers attend court hearings to monitor judges overseeing drug-related cases. […]
Becknell began to work with Operation UNITE, a federally funded drug task force that covers 29 counties in southeastern Kentucky and which created Court Watch. He said that during his first few sessions as a court observer, he noticed officers not showing up, cases getting dismissed, judges doling out lenient sentences and the same defendants appearing before the same judge. [emphasis added]

I’ve heard my dad talk about his times working with prison ministry, so I can definitely connect better with Rev. John Rausch, director of the Catholic Committee on Appalachia…

Churches should focus on drug counseling and ministering to inmates, he said, citing part of the Gospel of Matthew (25:36) concerning the final judgment: “When I was in prison, you came to see me.”
“It isn’t ‘I was up for charges and you made sure they threw the book at me,”‘ Rausch said.

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