Ministry Resources for Correctional Living Spaces

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Ministry Resources for Correctional Living Spaces

Below are ministry resources for serving in correctional living spaces

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Correctional Resources

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Love in a Cauldron of Misery: Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry
by Kirk Blackard

Christians are called to minister to people in prison. But most know next to nothing about prisons, the needs of the people in them, or the biblical basis for addressing those needs. Love in a Cauldron of Misery fills that void. This book provides a brief historical perspective that orients the reader and a discussion, mainly in the words of people with real experience, of what prisons and prisoners are really like and why the need for ministry is so great. It then explores the biblical charge f…

Beyond the Walls of Separation: Christian Faith and Ministry in Prison
by Tobias Brandner

Beyond the Walls of Separation is an essential and easy-to-read guidebook for chaplains and volunteers working in the context of prison, and for all those who are professionally or through family links related to those in prison. The book tells the story of what life behind bars is, and how inmates experience transformation through Christian faith: People at the crisis points of their life, where they are shattered, and where little is left of what made them, may experience life as fragile and as a transparent filter for the mysterious. Yet they also may experience God's life-giving presence. Love, expressed in forgiveness-against all odds, against all merits and previous experiences-lies at the root of many stories of transformation that emerge from prison. The book guides visitors to approach inmates without condescension, with an awareness of the social dimension of power and inequality, and with sensitivity to the suffering and alienation that individual prisoners experience. The many years of prison ministry in different cultural contexts and with inmates from all nations have taught the author that Christ does not need to be brought to prison through visitors, through evangelistic events, or through Christian outreach. He is already powerfully present in prison.

Overcoming Evil in Prison: How to Be a Light in a Dark Place
by Steven R. Cook

Prison society is no better or worse than those inmates who make up its population. As goes the attitudes and actions of inmates, so goes much of the prison culture. The Christian in prison does not have to conform to the evil that often confronts him, but can choose to be a light in a dark place by living for Christ. This requires the discipline necessary to learn God’s Word and the courage to live His will. Where the light of Christ shines, there the soul is free to live and love, even in the midst of spiritual darkness where evil rages against God’s truth. Overcoming Evil in Prison addresses some of the basic issues related to helping the Christian advance to spiritual maturity and to be a light for Christ in a dark place.

Ministry to the Incarcerated
by Henry G. Covert

Dr.Henry G.Covert uses his experiences as both a police officer and state prison chaplain to examine the environment of the incarcerated - people who are often forgotten by society. He emphasizes particular areas of inmate stress and how they impact upon the inmate's spiritual formation and the role of the Church in offering encouragement, healing and transformation. He calls for staff education, environmental improvements, and a pastoral presence that facilitates rehabilitation and hope,rather than discouragement and punishment. According to Dr.Covert, many inmates truly desire to change. The presence of the Church can be their strongest form of encouragement and support. He provides examples of biblical themes that can promote healing and regeneration among prisoners, drawing specifically on the teachings of Jesus.

Prison Ministry by Mail
by Juanita Dennis

From person experience, the author describes how to develop and maintain a prison ministry by writing letters to inmates.

Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison
by Joshua Dubler

A BOLD AND PROVOCATIVE EXPLORATION OF ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY VIBRANT PLACES IN AMERICA—A STATE PENITENTIARY Baraka, Al, Teddy, and Sayyid: Four black men from South Philly, two Christian and two Muslim, are serving life at Pennsylvania’s maximum-security Graterford Prison. All of them work in the prison chapel, where they have regular opportunities to dispute the workings of God, faith, and self-transformation. And then Sayyid disappears. Down in the Chapel tells the story of one week…

Ministry With Prisoners & Families: The Way Forward
by W. Wilson Goode

This edited volume considers the impact of incarceration on the African American community and the biblical mandate for an intentional response from the church. The book features model ministries that address incarceration, prisoner reentry, and the care of their families and includes strategies for a political advocacy ministry around issues in criminal justice reform. With contributors who include scholars, ministry practitioners, pastors, and formerly incarcerated individuals, this unique resource offers a paradigm for “prisoner ministry” that goes beyond traditional worship and Bible study programs to create an authentic relational encounter—not only with prisoners but with their families, from the time of incarceration to the transition back into home, church, and society.

Forget Them Not: A Holistic Guide to Prison Ministry
by Joanne Hemenway

The purpose of this work is to provide a guidebook for congregational prison ministries, which will foster awareness and empowerment in prison ministries. The book surveys historical, theological, and sociological background to highlight a model of witnessing and three models of developing prison ministry.

Serving Time, Serving Others: Acts of Kindness by Inmates, Prison Staff, Victims, and Volunteers
by Tom Lagana and Laura Lagana

These inspiring and true stories reveal the restorative benevolence that is alive and well behind prison walls. Whether through a helping hand from another inmate, a gesture of kindness from a prison volunteer, or caring treatment and respect from a correctional officer, counselor, chaplain or other staff person, you will be uplifted as you read about amazing people who have performed humane acts in inhumane surroundings. Serving Time, Serving Others is for those who have ever spent time behind bars; who have ever had a loved-one imprisoned; who work or volunteer in a correctional facility; who have ever been a victim of crime; and, who understand that we all share the responsibility of helping others—no matter who they are, where they live, or what they’ve done. Each heartfelt story captures the essence of genuine kindness and illustrates that even the darkest pits of despair and hopelessness can be illuminated by just one good deed. Genuine kindheartedness has the miraculous power to heal, transform and inspire—even those behind bars. It can also foster forgiveness and a desire to change. Serving Time, Serving Others will leave you with a renewed appreciation of the restorative power of kindness and the resilience of the human spirit—whether or not you live or work behind the razor wire. “Laura and Tom Lagana have brought together an extraordinary collection of inspiring stories by ordinary people, uplifting our world in the darkest of places.” Jack Canfield, Co-creator, #1…

No Place for Children: Voices from Juvenile Detention
by by Steve Liss; foreword by Marian Wright Edelman; introduction by Cecilia Ball

"Juvenile crime rates have dropped dramatically since the early 1990s, yet more young people are in juvenile detention today than at any other time in America's history. Most are nonviolent offenders. Many have mental health or substance abuse problems. All have been failed by some combination of their families, schools, churches, and communities. But instead of addressing these young people's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and basic nurturing, we lock them away in an overburdened juvenile…

Women in prison ministry handbook
by Sunny M Lockwood

“I was in prison—and you visited me.” Jesus says that his true followers care about people that others forget—including prisoners. Among the most neglected and forgotten of prisoners are women. Most women prisoners have been abused and exploited. Most have children. Most prison ministries are geared to men. This important handbook will help you meet women’s special needs with its step-by-step guide.

Coming Home: Post-Prison Counseling Workbook
by Douglas McDuffie, DMin

now that you are out of prison everything will be just fine. Being back out in the so-called "free world" does not mean or make your freedom automatic. Have you ever heard it said that "freedom ain't free?" That's a true statement, and it applies to recent released prisoners. There is a price to pay for freedom. It may seem expensive to some if they can not or will not follow the rules of freedom. The prison system dictates that to be free you must do several things. If you do, they will help yo…

Everything Women Need To Know About Men Returning From Prison
by Douglas McDuffie, DMin

In the 21st century, a large number of men are serving time in prison. Some communities have more men in prison than College, especially minority communities. Women are left to fend for themselves to raise children, run the household and make a living during the incarceration of husbands, boyfriends or partners. The stress experienced by women during this time is unprecedented. Since the man's incarceration, the woman has wished and dreamed of the day when he (the man) would return and take over traditional domestic duties for the family. It sounds good. This is a good thought, but is it reality? This workbook attempts to separate the real from the unreal and to give women a clearer picture of expectation when men return from prison.

Forgiveness Workbook: The first step to families psychologically accepting their connection to incarceration and forgiving their
by Douglas McDuffie, DMin

To be incarcerated is one of the hardest things one could ever endure and overcome. The first step to overcoming incarceration, for the prisoner as well as for his spouse and family, is forgiveness. The incarcerated must first forgive himself and his family that have been hurt by him must also forgive. Why should we forgive? This workbook attempts to bring reasons as to why we need forgiveness.

Successfully Adjusting To Prison Workbook
by Douglas McDuffie, DMin

Adjusting to prison life is not easy. It is one of the hardest things one will ever have to do in one's lifetime. Once behind those locked doors and you realize that your freedom is absolutely taken away. There are guards with guns that are constantly watching you. You are told what to do, where to do it and when to do it everyday that you are there. You begin to feel and understand the demoralizing effect of incarceration. The prison system is designed to control prisoners by dehumanizing them.

Prison Ministry and Balancing Philosophies of Justice: History and Case Studies
by William Morrissete

Prison Ministry and Balancing Philosophies of Justice explores the early penitentiary design implemented at Sing Sing, Auburn and Eastern State penitentiaries with particular emphasis on the role of prison ministry and the application of justice philosophies. Modern day penal systems are struggling with uncontrollable growth and associated burdens on societal resources that have not necessarily correlated with improved rehabilitation of criminal offenders and/or safer communities. This dissertation offers a new theory relative to the development of criminal justice systems over the past 150 years and the degree to which technological self perpetuation and prison ministry impact a balanced application of justice philosophies and by extension, the successful transformation and restoration of criminal offenders.

Spiritual Survival Guide for Prison and Beyond
by Fred Nelson

Written with the help of over twenty current and ex-inmates, family members of inmates, pastors and prison chaplains, this is a valuable resource to help inmates thrive spiritually in a prison setting, and prepare themselves for surviving spiritually after prison. There are helpful sections on how people change, an overview of the biblical message, the art of forgiveness, and the spiritual dimensions of addiction, gang life, relationships with family members, fatherhood, re-entry, etc. Each chapter has helpful "Think about it. Talk about it." sections that provide provocative discussion questions for use with cellmates or in small group settings.

Thinking About Jail and Prison Ministry; a Guide for the Lay Volunteer
by Larry Nielsen

Larry Nielsen entered jail and prison ministry after a career in law enforcement. That background gives Larry a unique perspective on corrections ministry. Larry currently serves as a volunteer lay chaplain in the Hamilton County, Ohio corrections system, and is CEO of Believers Behind Bars Correspondence School of the Bible.

When Prisoners Return: Why We Should Care and How You and Your Church Can Help
by Pat Nolan, Chuck Colson

"When Prisoners Return" identifies the need for individuals and churches to be involved as prisoners return to society; this book also equips individuals and churches with the information they need to effectively assist former prisoners.

Incarcerated But Free: How to Find Freedom from your Mental Prison
by Monique Pettaway-Ray

Six months after newlywed Monique Pettaway-Ray landed her first teaching job as an eighth-grade science instructor in Huntsville, Alabama, her world suddenly imploded. Her husband was convicted for murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. A vital part of her life was ripped from her-and Monique didn't know how to cope. Deeply honest and heartfelt, Incarcerated but Free shares how Monique broke the bars of her mental prison, forged an incredible faith in the Lord, and embarked on a path to help families of incarcerated individuals find hope and healing. Monique explores the doubts, fears, and perplexities that often accompany those who have a loved one in prison, and shares the coping strategies she developed to combat each challenge. Monique uses biblical passages to emphasize the important role God played in her journey, and includes questions for meditation and reflection at the end of each section. From overcoming shame to dealing with anger and frustration, Monique's helpful, compassionate voice offers encouragement for those suffering from their own form of incarceration. A unique blend of memoir and self-help, Incarcerated but Free offers faith-filled inspiration to bring light to your darkest days.

Breaking God Into Prison
by Jason Pfledderer, DMin

How to Successfully Transition From Incarceration Back Into Society. If you, a friend, family member or loved one currently is or ever has been incarcerated and would like to know how to successfully transition back into society, look no further, this book is for you.

Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall
by Dennis W. Pierce

Show the incarcerated how to find forgiveness in unforgiving surroundings As the prison population in the United States increases by more than 1,000 inmates each week, prison ministry programs must have a working blueprint for dealing with the shame, humiliation, hate, and loneliness of incarceration at both the adult correctional and juvenile detention/probation levels. Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall demonstrates how a ministry can adapt Latin American Liberation theology to address oppression and bring prisoners into the community of Christ. Author Dennis Pierce, former chaplain at the Joliet Correctional Center in Illinois (where the Fox Network's 2005 “Prison Break” series is filmed), presents a functioning approach to forgiveness and reconciliation, combining pastoral counseling, Christian education, Bible studies, and worship to help inmates develop self-esteem and an overall feeling of self-worth through compassion and empathy. Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall provides an alternative resource on our prison system for chaplains, pastors, priests, and students working in theology, ethics, or counseling. Instead of the usual descriptive narratives of inmates’ lives or discussions of statistical approaches, this unique book combines a theological model with a viable programmatic approach to confront the oppression of incarceration and reverse its effects. The book looks at the vital issues facing juveniles in the criminal justice system (the transition from county jail to a correctional facility, victimization, rejection, under-stimulation, homosexual rape) and examines the creation of non-threatening niches to address coping structures needed to move toward forgiveness and reconciliation. Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall examines: meeting the incarcerated defining prison’s emotional ethos dealing with human breakdowns oppression in maximum-security prison components of empowerment needed for prison ministry Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall also includes case studies of four inmates, an extensive bibliography, a glossary of prison terms, sample Bible studies, and sermon topics. The book is invaluable for anyone dealing with incarcerated youth and young adults in civilian or military correctional or juvenile detention facilities.

12 Week Bible Study for Inmates
by Erin Roys

This is a 12 week bible study specifically written for inmates. It asks you to commit to spending about 20 minutes a day, every day, for the next 12 weeks. Each week has a key theme and that week's verses examine the theme in depth. The themes are designed to help you rebuild your foundation in the word of God during your incarceration. A course completion certificate is available (details inside book).

Inside the Fence: A Handbook for Those in Prison Ministry
by David M. Schilder

Father Schilder is equally candid about the rewards and the difficulties attached to ministry in a modern day prison setting. It takes a particular kind of person with a specific kind of education to be able to deal effectively with the many demands that are made on the time and resources available. This book suggests a number of ways in which those who are involved, or who one day hope to be, can prepare themselves for this very specialized ministry.

Prisoners in the Bible
by Zach Sewell

Prisoners in the Bible can help you facilitate a class or small group discussion in a prison or jail. It is an especially helpful resource in a prison ministry setting. If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, this book would be a meaningful gift. Each chapter in this book explores the story of a different person in the Bible who was imprisoned, and considers the unique way that God was at work in their situation. The purpose of this book is to encourage people who are currently incarcerated by showing them how God has worked through the difficult situation of imprisonment many times before. There are questions at the end of each chapter that you can use to lead group discussion or that the reader can use for personal reflection.

Lost and Found: Ministry to Incarcerated Youth
by Don Smarto

Crucial reading for anyone who ministers to delinquents or incarcerated juveniles. Parents will appreciate the practical chapters about parenting a difficult child, communication, signs of drug abuse, depression, and parent-child contracts.

Setting the Captives Free! Relevant Ideas in Criminal Justice & Prison Ministry
by Donald Smarto, editor

Articles by Charles Colson, Bill Glass, Harry Greene, Don Holt, Susan Lee, Gordon McLean, Alvaro Nieves, J.Michael Quinlan, James Skillen, Charles Riggs and Dan Van Ness.

Prison Ministry: Understanding Prison Culture Inside and Out
by Lennie Spitale

For most Christians, prison culture is like visiting a foreign land, and the thought of ministering in prisons to those incarcerated is an intimidating prospect. Prison Ministry will empower any pastor, educator, or lay leader in doing effective prison ministry by providing a thorough “inside-out” view of prison life. Author Lennie Spitale offers a unique and qualifying vantage for writing about prison culture and prison ministry. As a young man, Spitale served a prison sentence for an armed robbery that was later reduced to assault and robbery. Two years after his conversion to Christianity, he began conducting a weekly Bible study in a local jail and has been involved in prison ministry for more than two decades.

Doing HIS Time: Meditations and Prayers for Men and Women in Prison
by James C. Vogelzang

Bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to women and men in prison, in their language, understanding their culture in a way that makes it come alive. Jim Vogelzang spent 36 years in prison, but never spent a day behind bars! In prison to selfishness and the world, he underwent a spiritual transformation at age 36, after reading Chuck Colson s autobiography, Born Again. He felt God's call to go into prison and share the loving grace of Jesus Christ in the form of a devotional that delivers the message in an inmate's language and situation. From 1999 to 2008, the author researched prison life and lingo to better understand what it was like to be incarcerated. Then taking this knowledge, he and co-author/editor Lynn Vanderzalm wrote Doing HIS Time to share the Good News in an inmate's native tongue. In 2014, the authors updated the book, adding 25 new meditations and 25 pages of Study Guides to help inmates and prison ministers and chaplains get the most out of this book. This is a powerful and insightful book that is a must have that will speak God s love in a way that everyone involved in the criminal justice system will understand.