The Transatlantic Roundtable on Race and Religion will convene July 29 – 31, 2013, in the shadows of the slave castles to examine the Black church’s responses to contemporary threats to black social, physical, and religious well-being. This year’s theme is “Black Churches and 21st Century Captivities”. Savannah resident, Maxine Bryant, Ph.D.,will be among delegates who will present at the conference. Specifically, Dr. Bryant will examine the role of the Black church in addressing prisoner recidivism among African American males. Using recent data from Islamic authors, Dr. Bryant will compare statistics which indicate that Islamic prison converts are 30% less likely to return to prison than their Christian counterparts. Bryant, who is unapologetically Christian, will challenge Black Christian churches to provide holistic support for persons returning to our communities from prison. According to Bryant, the question is not if they are coming home; but rather, when are they coming home. And, she contends the Black church should lead the way in helping communities to be posited to receive and assist them, especially since the majority of prisoners in America, and particularly Georgia, are Black.
Prior to relocating to Savannah, Dr. Bryant served as the Director of Offender Re-Entry for the Mayor of Indianapolis, IN and has worked extensively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern Indiana to develop an infrastructure conducive to successful prisoner reintegration. From January, 2012 – January, 2013, she was contracted by Promise Land CDC to develop and manage the Chatham County Jail Community Work Release Program. Currently Dr. Bryant teaches criminal justice classes at Armstrong Atlantic State University and the local University of Phoenix campus. Additionally, Bryant is a volunteer committee member with the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.