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Friends
in Prison


 
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The poor frequently end up in prison. They are persons in condition of social and economic need, "on the street" or with serious personal difficulties. They are immigrants, drug addicts, alcoholics, AIDS victims. They frequent our soup-kitchens, our welcome centres, the streets and neighbourhoods in which we work. Friendship with these brothers and sisters has led some persons of the Community to visit the prisons in Italy or in other European nations and even in Africa (for example, in Mozambique and in Guinea Conakry) and in Latin America (Bolivia).
The prison, a closed, unknown world, has become a familiar place, regularly frequented by many of the Sant'Egidio Community.

The evangelical foundation
Jesus Himself identifies in the prisoner:
"I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you dressed me, sick and you visited me, imprisoned and you came to visit me." (Matt 25,35-36).

Jesus neither judged nor condemns as the tribunals of our civil society do. He died between two thieves, not between two unjustly condemned innocent men, and to one of the two He said: "Today you will be with me in paradise." (Lk 23,43) Jesus teaches that we must neither judge nor condemn. "Do not judge so that you may not be judged…" (Matt 7,1).

Prison: A world apart

Prison is, par excellence, a place of marginalisation and isolation. The condition of the "prisoner" is unnatural, inhumane. Some imprisoned men and women never have visitors. 

"I was imprisoned
and you came to visit me.
"

Visits, correspondence and psychological supports make the prison a place where one can still be a human being.
In the North and South of the world
Despite all differences, friendship and listening characterise our service to the prisoners in the North and in the South of the world.


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