thanks annedroid… find out about prisons week here.
Wish I had a pound for every prisoner who claimed to have found God! (As opposed to those that actually did)
what do you mean?
Just been watching lunch time news. Prison staff are on strike because of bullying by management. In one prison, the strike has been 24hours, which mean prisoners have been in their cells for 24 hours!!! There is a lot of unrest and some cases where prisoners are lighting fires (where do they get the matches from0 Can you imagine what it’s like in there – buckets overflowing….
I was in prison and you visited me…
I’d hate to think that prisoners might be denied access to Sky TV, pool table and Playstation for 24h. I reckon it’s prison week every week! Which is perhaps rather Daily Mail of me!
I’ve been in jail – what they are doing is needed.
#2 It’s well known many prisoner pretend to have found God in order to try & curry favour with prison governors & parole boards in the hope of a) obtaining an earlier release and b) being considered for work duties that are more desirable.
If saying they’ve found god = good behaviour then who gives a monkeys if their name is written in the lambs book of life or not?
Re#5: Something to DO is needed.
We had TV, and that was about it, other than sit around and gossip, which I don’t do either.
I don’t need to watch TV as the noise as the noise and commotion cause me trouble with the Aspergers and Bipolar.
Being a creative person and exercising the creativity to relieve stress and help maintain focus in light of my psychological troubles, jail didn’t do me any good.
As a matter of fact my Psychologist wrote to them saying it was actually quite Destructive, her word, to someone like me; and would in the end do more harm. Psychiatrist put together a letter for the court too.
People like me don’t intend to cause trouble, it’s not something one wakes up in the morning intending to set out to do that day. Given the cause-and-effect law of operation in this universe there was pretty much no way what took place could have not happened.
To say “It shouldn’t have happened” would be the height of irrational. It was the logical result of the causes.
In the end, we did learn some new things about my situation.
And discovered we had been doing some things we thought would help that turned out to be exactly the wrong things to to after learning the new things.
Oh well, such is life on this planet.
And then there’s the folks who were falsely accused and convicted – been a number of those cases in news over last few months.
God bless those people.
JF at #5, yes in a way it is Prisoners Week every week for prisoners – at least they are certainly prisoners all week every week, anyway. But the point of Prisoners Week isn’t for them directly – it’s for the Church. The idea is simply to remind the Church that the prisoners exist (out of sight out of mind etc) and that we are all to love them unconditionally, and pray for them. “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners” (Hebrews 13:3) and Robb’s quote at #4, for example.
Miriworm at #1 and #7 – is it well known to you from recent experience? It may be different where you are – I don’t know where you are – but my experience in the Scottish prison system anyway that those days are long gone. It is HIGHLY unlikely that a feigned, or even genuine, conversion would do the slightest good in regards to parole or early release. Nowadays, in my experience anyway, it is much more likely to result in a referral to the mental health nurse – I have seen this happen more than once.
One big scary-looking life sentence prisoner I know, who two years into his sentence became a Christian (I have not the slightest doubt in his case it was genuine) told me a funny story. At the prison he was at before he came to ours, he went along to a chaplaincy meeting at which there was an invited guest speaker. At chaplaincy meetings in most jails, you’ll get a mixture of genuinely interested prisoners and other guys just there to see folk from other halls that they don’t normally get to see (sometimes to exchange information, or drugs). Anyway my friend was sitting in the front row trying to listen to the speaker but the guys behind him were chatting. He turned round and said to the guys, “Shut up – I’m trying to listen”. One of the prisoners whispered “Huh! You’re just a parole chaser”. He turned round again and whispered menacingly “Come through to the khazi and say that”, to which the guy immediately said “I thought you were a Christian”. My friend sighed and said “Well make up your mind which I am and be quiet”!
I doubt if prison ever does anyone any good; it usually does harm.
Some people at my church do prison visiting.
One of my friends was sent to prison for stabbing someone in the calf in self-defence – he was stamping on her head!
I visit a friend in prison, he’s been in and out a few times over the years. These days he believes it’s done him the world of good. Regained his self respect, believes he has a future, feels he’s been genuinely helpful to people, feels that he’s treated like a human being – even ten years ago you were treated like an animal and came out as angry as sin. When he first went in this time he thought it was easy time, pointless and cosy, but it’s enabled him to retrain, to go through therapy and become a counsellor and a plumber. Some would argue that prison is not supposed to do you any good, it’s supposed to be punishment – for me being locked up is punishment regardless of the mod cons – but if there’s a chance to change people then i’m all for that. Does it do any good? You can only ask the prisoners.
Bloody hell, I’d go to prison voluntarily if I got all that training for free AND therapy! I’ve often thought it would be a good way to get funded to do post-graduate study, but access to books would be so limited.
Hey Tiggy, it wasn’t free for me – after getting out, I had to pay the county $30 a day for the time I was in for “room and board”.
But then I was in a county jail, not state or federal prison.
And definitely not there long enough to get any kind of training program.
Prison is NOT a nice place, no matter the “perks”. I know people who have been residents and people who have been or are employees.
And yeah, it is a place you really do not want to end up.
Sometimes prisons do have a good stock of books it has been seen in the news.
Also, convicted felons may lose their right to vote.
Or even the ability to get a library card.
(That one absolutely baffles me!
how that relates is total mystery)
I suppose they won’t trust them with taking books away. I’ve abused that trust myself in that respect because of stress. I never returned some overdue books, so now I’m probably not entitled to a library card. It’s not a very good library though anyway.
If I were in prison, I’d be giving everyone English lessons as so many in there can’t read. I’d enjoy that.
jf… yes, just a tad ‘daily mail’ of you. remember the old saying ‘two wrongs don’t make a right?’ do you not think one could make a strong case for it’s application in this situation?
I God wants to reach out to everyone facing accusations, either founded or unfounded, he wants us to know he values us
don’t forget – it’s the devil who is the accuser
#10 I’m not saying all prison conversion are not genuine just that you need to be realistic about how many may be.
And yes it is my experience from having a cousin in the HM Prison (Norfolk max security and before that the Scrubs) Service, a good friend whose brother is an ex-con and who freely admits faking his finding of Christ. Also I am aware of a few people who have been new victims of ex-cons who claimed to have found Christ.
As before thats not to say some are not genuine. It also depends a lot in which country you are as you point out – in the US and some Latin American countries it can be a help with gaining parole.
But I agree church goers often don’t want to get involved either.
PS: Like the last story
Yes Miriworm I agree, lots of realism is definitely needed!!
I think the other two things to bear in mind re jail conversions are (a) the transition from church in prison to church outside is really, really, really hard, and a lot of folk don’t make the gap but this doesn’t necessarily mean their experience in prison wasn’t real, and (b) some staff who don’t understand about church in or out of prison, or about the Christian faith at all, see no reason why a prisoner would behave the way he does, attending Bible study groups etc so with their natural and appropriate (usually) suspicious minds will question what it’s about.
Re (b) I know of a group of prisoners who were all drug tested because they seemed so “high” coming out of a praise evening in the jail’s chaplaincy – not one of them failed the drug test
And you’re probably right re America – I am addicted to “Lock Up”, “America’s Toughest Jail”, and all those sorts of programs and things are very very different in Jailworld across the pond.
Robin #12 – Surely the church is all about the rehabilitation business. If we don’t believe in repentance and rehabilitation we have nothing. Time to pack up shop and turn the lights off.
As for the question of “how jailed/ex-convict christians act” post “conversion”, we (certainly outside of the church and a lot of the time within the church) forget that this is a journey. When we view conversion as a single point event we expect instant results. We are actually in a process of ongoing conversion. We learn and evolve into the people God wants us to be. It isn’t a magic bullet.
Anndroid #20 – The in church to out church transition is an interesting question. The out church expects ‘nice people’ to come. On bonfire night the door was locked to the church hall to keep the ‘undesirables’ (three chavy teenagers) from entering and eating the food (unattended handbags were the reason given). I didn’t realise there was anyone who was ‘undesirable’ in church terms. I thought that was the whole point of Jesus message – the religious people are telling you that you are ‘undesirable’ for God and they are wrong – God loves you!
Open the door and attend your handbags!!!
And if you don’t allow “undesirables” I better get my coat!!
If the church sees itself as a club to collect the nice middle class people how is it ever going to respond to its call and welcome the ex-con with open arms?
It’s all upside down and inside out!!
Jon (16) Hmmm – locking someone up would be a “wrong” in itself, but society has developed this as punishment and tries to match the sentence to the crime. So I guess our whole justice system is based on two wrongs making a right, in a way.
I wouldn’t want to “wrong” anyone beyond taking away their freedom in the established sense of the execution of justice. But I would be happy for sentences to be considerably shorter, if we could make prison a place where there is less time spent sitting around enjoying what I would still consider to be luxuries. If only the time was spent teaching people the value of making a positive contribution to their families and society in general; either through training, or psychologically rewarding work.
The number of religious conversions among inmates must surely point to the fact that many of these people are open to a complete change in their way of life. I just don’t think that this should be limited to their spiritual life and that prison would be doing its job better if it was able to offer more practical options for turning lives around… and if it wasn’t such an “easy” option for many prisoners. I would at least like to feel that part of prison’s remit is to deter anyone from ever going there again.
So I guess our whole justice system is based on two wrongs making a right, in a way.
That is what you get in a Judeo/Christian tradition. It starts with all that eye for an eye stuff and develops into the necessity of someone paying the price for the bad thing done.
jf… i knew ‘daily mail man’ was just an aberration, and agree with what you’re saying.
robb… “Open the door and attend your handbags!!!” i utterly agree. otherwise what’s the point?
interesting point themethatisme.
Robb #21 – eh? Don’t understand your response to my comment.
He means you should look after your handbag, Robb.
Wasn’t ‘Porridge’ a wonderful series? Still is.
themethatisme@ 23: I’m not sure that the impression conveyed by your comment is entirely fair: In the case of retributive justice, ‘an eye for an eye’ was actually a way of limiting rather than escalating the recompense allowable dor a crime. There is also a strong link between justice and mercy in Jewish ethics – for example in the concept of lifnim mishurat ha-din (‘beyond the line of the law’) whereby the injured party holds back from making the full legal demand for retribution/repayment.
Robin – you give a perfect description of everything I believe that God is about, only it is being demonstrated through you friends experience of the prison system (when it is being successful).
A chance “to go through therapy and become a counsellor and a plumber. Some would argue that prison is not supposed to do you any good, it’s supposed to be punishment – for me being locked up is punishment regardless of the mod cons – but if there’s a chance to change people then i’m all for that.”
Not just about punishment for a crime committed but restoration.
Very true Pat, but the laws developed from those precepts do not reflect the subtlety of their original context.
Fair point I guess
As far as the eye for an eye and all that – good point about it also limiting punichment – how often is THAT taught?
Another thought is that the Bible all through the thing shows that actions and choices have conseqences – that “cause and effect” thing can jump up and take a big bite out of your posterior.
One absolutely can be fogiven, but remember that God set up cause and effect laws of nature.
And he kind of expects us to know that.
I went on a couple of prison visit thingys with the church I was involved in when I was a teenager, you know to run worship (it was a D category prison so I’m guessing why I was allowed to go). Anyway, I found it very inspiring, here these guys were who trying to turn their lives around and talking about their struggles. I wish I’d done more of it – definitely something to look into again when I move back to the UK….
Thanks for bringing this issue up Annedroid – its an important one
I’m touched by this conversation… totally ignorant about prison and prisoners
pained by the thought of prisoners on release finding church outside difficult…
so glad to have friends like Forrest, AnneDroid and miriworm who have something to teach me.
you know, sometimes one lurks because it’s good to listen
im glad i finaly found GOD
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