Robert Newsom, a former police officer, prosecutor, and district judge, is a living personification of law and order in Texas. His judicial approach is based on his faith and principles of justice. Being also an ordained minister through Christ for the Nations, he says,
“I believe in the law. I promote the law. I stand with the law. On the other hand, there’s a place for mercy built into our law.”
But in the case of Ron Adkins, who appeared in front of the Judge in 1997, he did not show mercy. The thing is, Texas is a “three strikes” law state, which means that repeated offenders there are put into a jail for life. Adkins was guilty for a series of home burglaries and received 99 years for each of his five cases, resulting in nearly 500-year sentence!
Without a hope of ever leaving prison, Adkins had nothing to lose. He became so violent and out of control that the prison guards had to escort him to the shower room, wearing handcuffs. He ended up in a solitary imprisonment, where he spent 13 years.
But then, a true miracle happened. He was so lonely and depressed that he turned to Bible, he initially used to make cigarettes. He started from the New Testament, and it seemed that God spoke to him through those remaining pages. He even began visiting Bible study courses and enrolled in ministry education.
Adkins changed his lifestyle and was characterized as showing a “good behavior”. In 2012, a surprise review resulted in an early parole. And, in 2015, after almost 25 years of imprisonment, he was released! Adkins said,
“It was awesome. I didn’t even think it was real until I actually got out of the gate.”
He was able to find a job as a heavy equipment operator and continued serving his faith by sharing the story of his life in churches and criminal justice reform conferences. There, he met his wife.
One day, another unexpected thing happened, when Adkins was listening to a guest speaker in his church. He had a feeling that they had met before, but he couldn’t remember where,
“It dawned on me, I told pastor, ‘You know what? I think that’s the judge who sentenced me to five 99-year sentences.”
And, indeed, it was Judge Newsom. Adkins just came up to him and gave him the biggest hug. He did not hold any grudge against Newsom even though he gave him such a whopping sentence.
The two men have been able to forget about the past and reconnect, basing their relationships on a shared faith. Judge even introduced Adkins to the local sheriff, who allowed him and his wife to talk to the inmates of the prison, sharing their inspiring stories. Ever since, there has been a dramatic change in prisoners’ behavior; the inmates have become less hostile and aggressive. Now, they are focused and more respectful.
It is absolutely clear that Adkins’ transformation hasn’t been in vain as it brought such amazing changes in many people’s lives. Indeed, God works in mysterious ways, and we should just be grateful and respectful towards everyone.