Group prays for dads behind bars to be reunited with their children

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A large crowd, led by a group of local pastors, stood on the steps of the Justice Center Saturday and prayed — both for a particular group of fathers, and for a change that might reunite those fathers with their children sooner rather than later.

“God does not need any clearance,” one of the pastors said. “He can walk right through the prison cells.”

The United Pastors in Mission wanted to draw attention to the number of fathers who are behind bars – and question whether all of them should be. The group’s sign of prayer was holding black umbrellas.

“We are fine with tough prosecution of tough criminals,” says Rev. Larry L. Macon, of Mt. Zion Oakwood Village, one of the organizers of the prayer vigil.

But, he added, too often too many non-violent offenders are behind bars, needlessly costing them part of their lives, and costing taxpayers millions.

Macon added that the pastors just want “common sense prosecutions” of non-violent offenders.

In addition, Dr. Tony Minor of the Community of Faith Assembly, says society must “help provide a pathway” for those offenders to get jobs once their prison sentences are completed.

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