I’ve had a good run with this blog. I launched it in December 2008, choosing the domain name on Blogger of Righteous Harvest. The name was meant to signify biblical roots and restorative justice aspirations.
I later inserted the title Piercing the Panopticon. This was intended to take on the issue of America’s excessive reliance on prison as a means of resolving social conflict.
Over the last 3-plus years, I’ve tried to tackle topics of large import. In several posts, I took up California’s prison overcrowding crisis. In others, I delved into Michel Foucault’s analysis of the power dynamics underlying the ascendancy of the modern prison.
In 2009, I eagerly followed Sen. Jim Webb’s efforts to create a national criminal justice review commission. In due course, I commented on the failure of his proposal to go anywhere in Congress.
The reasons for this failure became clearer in 2011, when Daedalus and Wilson Quarterly published themed issues on the phenomenon of mass incarceration.
Since joining the board of directors of Prison Congregations of America in 2010, I’ve increasingly attempted to articulate the value of prison ministry — for people on both sides of the walls. Piercing the Panopticon began to take on a new meaning for me: fostering hope in the light of Christ among those in the figurative darkness of prison.
It’s time for me to reboot my blog to focus more clearly on prison ministry. During Lent, I intend to post a few more times here on Righteous Harvest, seeking to sum up the themes of the last three years. I’ll do so, however, with the sense of an ending.