The Importance of Prison Ministry: Do We Ignore and Despise the Million in USA Jails?
One of the things I enjoyed in past decades was visiting people in jail. How I came to know them is not important. But I found it immensely thrilling and meaningful. Jail or prison can be not merely doing time, but also the environment and medical care and food, etc. can be a punishment.
I was very stunned by a comment Jesus made about some who felt they were right with God, and were rejected by God for many reasons. One was "You never came to visit me in prison." and at the end of things listed that show the love of God or show the care of a godly heart, he says. "Depart from me I never knew you."
They thought they were definitely connected with God and were wrong. This got my attention.
So I was pleased to find a care and love for inmates who are lonely, hopeless, alone, isolated, powerless and emotionally dead. My favorite action is to take their calls and connect them to loved ones on a "three way" in which I leave the room, and they can talk to family or close friends who cannot afford the minimal fee for the call, or are too busy to add money to the phone system that pays for the call.
This is really a minimal sacrifice, but apparently is rarely done.
Another thing that is fun, is to find out the magazines they like that are pro-social but fun and to send them. Different locations have different rules on books, and written policies may be dated. Since any deviation from rules is serious, you may find your gift book is rejected. Perhaps the best contact is a chaplain who usually knows the best way to help reading inmates and knows current policy.
Have a good day. And remember, the command from Jesus was not bout guilt or innocence. Many are guilty, and many have no lawyer to fully defend them, so poverty is an inmate maker.
The other thing that hit me was the command to care for inmates was not based on guilt or innocence.
One charity led by a very experienced man is centurion ministries. They find if anyone is innocent but because of various reasons was found guilty, they make appeals for freedom. An example would be a DNA examination which shows the alleged criminal was not the illegal actor.