Phyllis- Prison Chaplain/ Victims’ Advocate

“The way Philadelphia works, there are facility chaplains assigned to one place and then there are system chaplains. I have done both including 3 1/2 years simultaneously.

I’ve always worked with those who were marginalized and I’ve always had an interest in corrections. For me corrections really blends together poverty, mental health, addiction, a system that’s really quite broken, people who have committed crimes when they were young that wasn’t a planned kind of thing. It was impulsive.

Theft has a consequence. One of the people I worked with pick pocketed the victim took a step back, fell, broke his hip and three months later died. So he went from a robbery to a murder charge. Another woman was trying to steal something from somebody’s purse. “No big deal.” It is a big deal. So that’s the victim part where I will challenge people who are incarcerated to say ‘ What seems like little crimes are not to the victims’. Now they’re afraid to go out. They’re afraid to trust. What you did I understand you were desperate, you were on drugs, but it’s no excuse because I ultimately want people to come back to accepting responsibility for their actions and to see that their actions have consequences.

I hope to be able to empower others to do what I’m doing. I do training and group work. I would love to be able to train people on how to work systems. How to help people who want to know advocacy. What to do and pass on the knowledge, that’s my desire now. “

Phyllis Taylor – Prison Chaplain/ Victims’ Advocate

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