by Terry J. Hallock

Free Indeed
Terry J. Hallock
John 8:31-36
July 1, 2001

I. Each Tuesday evening Pastor Calvin Spinks and I conduct a Bible study and prayer meet for male inmates at the Knox County Jail.

A. Six to eight men dressed in orange prison clothing and accompanied by armed guards make their way to a small room in which we will be locked for an hour and a half.

1. Among those men will be those charged with murder, burglary, assault, and sexual crimes.

2. Some will be men of color, others white.

3. Some will be young, others old.

4. Some will be fresh faced neophytes to the prison system while others will be grizzled veterans with tattoos on every part of their body announcing their gang affiliation, personal history, or the name of their mother or girlfriend.

5. Some will face short sentences to be fully served in the county jail while others face the possibility of sentences as long as natural life to be served in the big houses at Joliet or Marion.

6. Some will be terribly afraid and thus do their time badly while others will be afraid of nothing and face their sentences with stoic resolve.

7. Some will be victims, others victimizers. Some will survive, some will not.

B. Yet whatever their color or culture, whatever their criminal history, one common thread binds them all - their hunger for freedom.

1. Unless you have spent even the shortest time behind the walls of a prison you cannot begin to imagine the sense of loss that overwhelms you.

2. In the Knox County Jail there are few windows thus making it almost impossible to know if it is day or night, sunny or cloudy, raining or snowing.

a. Hours pass without the ability to see a bird or cloud or the right to make free decisions about the most common things such as when and what to eat, when and where to sleep, or who to associate with.

b. So the hunger for the simplest taste of freedom's fruit is palpable among those men gathered for Bible study and prayer in that tiny ro ...

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