Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

elizabeth-fry-on-the-bank-of-englands-5-pound-note_page_1.jpg

Old girl Liz in old nick Newgate

I was handed a bag of cocaine this week.  Stuff that was being smuggled into prison, and in this case caught before sale. (I didn’t keep it). Cocaine, spice, mobile phones, even fast food.  Thrown over prison walls.  Smuggled it.  Or brought in by a few corrupt staff.  Prisoners – crooked and unredeemable?  And today an acquaintance piled it on.

Bill, aren’t your prisoners pulling the wool over your eyes when you go in?  Don’t you feel that they are conning you? Aren’t they just seeking to get “a good report” back to the prison authorities?

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prison-christmas

As the prisoners come in, they wish me “Happy Christmas”.  Many of them anyway, and with cheery grins.  I was surprised.  They were glad to see us doing music for the Christmas Eve service.  Glad that there was something on for Christmas, glad to be glad-handed.

Trouble over Christmas period in prisons?  Perhaps in HMP Cardiff yesterday.  Not where I’ve been.  I’ve been inside twice this month, including Christmas Eve.  There was more natter than normal, and it had an “edge”.  Yet, no more than that.

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prayers-bannerI
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined, for unto us a child is born, a son is given.”
We are in darkness here, oh God
miserable being here this Christmas.
Want to be home at this time.
We are not home. Yet…. we are not alone.

May we be the light that shined on:
.     mates on the Wings – encouragement
.          wife on the phone – a truly listening ear
.               kids in the Visitors Centre – sweet words.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom your captive people (more…)

daniel-sm

Daniel is dead.  Jerry is now quaking for his son.  Daniel was 16.  Jerry is a drug dealer and in prison.

Dan Spargo-Mabbs lived in Croydon. The family are regular members of their church, Emmanuel South Croydon. Dan used to run free errands for the elderly people to whom he delivered papers. He also helped out church members with gardening and odd jobs.  You’d be happy to have the family round for dinner.  Fathers – you’d be happy for your 16 year old daughters to date him.

On Friday 17th January 2014, Dan persuaded his mum to let him go to a local party with friends. As Dan was usually responsible, mum agreed. But they went to an illegal rave instead. It was the first time he’d been to a rave. At the rave Dan (more…)

serge-levyc2013-prayerLord, we all have serious health problems

Our eyesight is poor
Silver and gold seem the brightest colours,
Followed by the green of greed, and
The blues of thwarted desires.

Our hearing is poor too
We can’t hear the cries of the weak,
Nor your warnings of judgement.

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prisoners eyesWhen I led the prayers last Sunday in a prison, several of the guys just stared at me, a bit surprised at what was being prayed.  Not hostile.  Just thinking something new.

The theme of the service was getting believers to hear the call of God to play a special part.  And why not for Christian prisoners too?  Does God’s calling get shut out be the high walls and barbed wire??  Cannot Christian convicts, who are repentant of past crimes, but still have to do the sentence, have a calling here?  Perhaps a specific one for a specific period?  But calling all the same. When inside. For inside.

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Nick Hardwick

Nick Hardwick, retiring Chief Inspector

Category A prisoners talk of freedom – while still inside.  This morning, Radio 4 broadcast the morning worship service from HMP Long Lartin. You can find it on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06z1zdp .  It was positive, and considering these are Cat A guys, who have done the very worst, it was quite something.  A fairly trad service, but listen to the prisoners. For instance, hear the prisoner who murdered a man, and after 20 years of substance misuse, in the last couple of years is turning his life around. A sweet aroma

However, much that comes up from prisons does not smell of roses.  Nick Hardwick, just (more…)