Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

Coronavirus+in+Prisons+MGN.jpgCovid-19 and prisons?  There was the Prison Fellowship’s first England wide Zoom prayer meeting today, 200 devices connected (>300 people).  It was a good use of tech in bad times.  Psalm 126 was a starting point, “Sowing in tears, reaping joy. Going in weeping, returning with joy.”  Some points from this and elsewhere:

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New Prisons Report

Posted: 18 July 2019 in Prisons
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Prison wing.jpgThe Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report was out last week. Don’t fancy reading 124 pages but want the headlines to think and pray about?  Well, today Prison Fellowship highlighted a few quotes from the Report and invite us all to pray over:

“Safety is still a major problem. Levels of violence had increased in more than half the prisons inspected.”
►God of peace, may Your peace prevail in our prisons, and may a spirit of calm to pervade every room and hallway. May the conflict, hopelessness and addiction that fuels the violence be addressed and transformed.

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Nothing To Fear

Posted: 2 November 2018 in Cultural, Prisons, Understanding Others
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Mounir el-Motassadeq

I haven’t posted anything for a while, but The Daily Mail provoked me.  Their recent headline “Terrorist back and treated like a hero”, about a 9/11 plotter just released from a German prison and his return home, to Morocco.  We should fear Morocco?  So it’s full of zealots then?  I detected quite the reverse when I was there in recently.

The Daily Mail was outraged that his wife was pleased to see him.  That his mother thanked God for his return.  What mother wouldn’t?  Or wife?  Warmer the better I’d say.  I know from our own prisons, that offenders are less likely to commit new crimes after their release if their family connections are strong.  Mounir el-Motassadeq will be less likely to restart terrorist-jihad if his wife and three children really connect with him, and look to him to stick to more orthodox Islam instead.

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“The men are all talking about this on the wings.” Here we are in prison and Will was telling me what he’d heard. He was on the Sycamore Tree victim awareness course but had had to miss Ray and Vi Donovan telling their story.  Of the assault on their two sons and murder of one of them,  Chris Donovan.  Will had heard all this second-hand, but it still amazed him.

Dartmoor therapyWhy?  Brutal assaults like on the Donovan lads are alas, not rare.  Forgiveness by victims isn’t unheard of.  What surprised Will and the men on the wings – was the Donovan’s willingness to come into HMP Slade and tell their story.  To tell it at length, sharing their sorrows and tears.  And then listen with warmth and compassion to the prisoner’s own stories.

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Glad to be in prison

Posted: 22 November 2017 in On the Pilgrim's Road, Prisons
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PH-Prison-Service.jpgBarry* stood up in the Chapel service. “I’m glad to be in prison”. General muttering from the other men. “No, I am. I would be dead by Christmas if not.  I’m a long term drug addict and I’ve been told that my heart won’t last this way.  I’ve now got a chance to get sorted.”  The Chaplain had just asked if anyone had anything they’d like to thank God for during the week, at which Barry was up immediately.

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I did not know

Posted: 1 November 2017 in Prisons
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They did not know

“I did not know”.  Jay was a drug dealer, now enjoying a long stretch in HMP Slade for supply of significant amounts of Class A drugs.  He had spoken with a parent whose son had died from an accidental drug overdose.  Though the son was not likely to be one of his own end users, Jay still saw the connection.

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Facing the Killers

Posted: 19 March 2017 in Prisons
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Chris Donovan

Chris Donovan was murdered on a suburban street one evening by people he did not know.  Not an attack by a hysterical lover.  Not a robbery gone wrong.  Not hit be crossfire in gang warfare.  Not a spiteful but unintentionally forceful punch.  This death is in the premier league of pointless killings.

Keep him alive
The parents keep him alive in the eyes of others who needed to meet the memory of him.  They told the tragic story to prisoners in HMP Millbank*.  I was there, helping lead a victim awareness course there (Sycamore Tree).

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