Near the city of Sao Jose
dos Campos, Brazil, is a remarkable facility. Twenty years ago the Brazilian
government turned a prison
over to two Christians. The institution was renamed Humaita, and the plan
was to run it on Christian principles. With the exception of two full-time
staff, all the work is done by inmates. Families outside the prison adopt
an inmate to work with during and after his term. Chuck Colson visited
the prison and made this report:
'When I visited Humaita I found the inmates smiling-
particularly the murderer who held the keys, opened the gates and let
me in. Wherever I walked I saw men at peace. I saw clean living areas,
people working industriously. The walls were decorated with Biblical sayings
from Psalms and Proverbs...My guide escorted me to the notorious prison
cell once used for torture.
Today, he told me, that block houses only a single
inmate. As we reached the end of a long concrete corridor and he put the
key in the lock, he paused and asked, "Are you sure
you want to go in?"
"Of course," I replied
impatiently, "I've been in isolation cells all over
the world." Slowly he swung open the massive door, and I saw the
prisoner in that punishment cell: a crucifix beautifully carved by the
Humaita inmates-the prisoner Jesus,
hanging on a cross.
"He's doing time for the
rest of us," my guide said softly.'"