While prison policies may make for effective political debates, we would argue they don’t do a lot for the people in those prisons.

There are without question some people in prison who need to be there, though even they deserve more humane conditions.

But what gets lost in the politics is the plight of those who do not need to be in prison, or who would not need to be there if treatment and education and rehabilitation were available. The issues of human dignity, rights and social justice seem lost on most elected officials, which makes the voices of faith community leaders so critical.

More and more calls for reform of this nation’s and this state’s prisons policies are coming from ministers, pastors, priests and other spiritual leaders. Recently faith leaders and their allies showed up at the State Capitol to ask for changes in policies having to do with parole, inmates with mental illnesses, elderly and dying patients with no need for incarceration.

It’s hard to imagine lawmakers simply ignoring these powerful, compassionate, reasoned voices for change.