By Dean Richardson, Prison Reform Committee Chair for the Desert Southwest Conference
Our current Conference vision asks us to be a Courageous Church: loving like Jesus, acting for justice, united in hope. We have multi-faceted opportunities to live these attributes when we get out of the church, meet new people, and dig deeper into the possibilities for Prison Reform. Last month we invited you to visit a Mental Health Court. Today we are inviting you to tour the Maricopa Re-entry Center.
What is Maricopa Re-entry Center (MRC) and what does it have to do with Prison Reform?
The MRC is an example of the state of Arizona making good faith efforts to lower the recidivism rate for those being released from prison (percentage of those being released from prison who relapse to a previous behavior resulting in a return to prison). In many cases, a ‘returning citizen’ cannot meet all of the technical requirements placed on him/her as a condition of their release. The MRC exists so that those who failed to meet the requirements may receive an alternative level of supervision instead of immediate return to prison.
On Tuesday, May 8, at 10:15 AM we will be able to visit the facility with Deputy Warden Barnhart to gain insight into the facility’s purpose, goals, and operations. As possible we will meet the staff and those under MRC supervision. A tour of the grounds is anticipated, so please anticipate a walking experience.
How does touring the Re-Entry Center increase vitality?
Communities of faith are most vital when learning about and acting on justice issues. As you find out more about the MRC, you may discern that its existence is serving justice issues. I invite you to meet with us at the MRC site shortly after 10:00 AM May 8, for a 10:15 AM tour of the facility. The facility is located at 24601 N 29 Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85027.
Jesus said when we visit those in prison, we visit him. To love like Jesus, we must understand that supervised assistance may be more just and cost-effective than an immediate return to prison for technical or substance abuse rule infractions.
How do I get started?
Please visit the link below to view Frequently Asked Questions regarding the MRC.
Contact Dean Richardson by phone at (480) 250-3580 and please leave a message, or by email, at if you are interested in additional information and directions. We do need an anticipated headcount, so please contact Dean to indicate your interest.