Prison Ministry : Hope Behind the Wall book cover
1st Edition

Prison Ministry
Hope Behind the Wall

ISBN 9780789026682
Published March 13, 2006 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction. Time to Meet the Incarcerated. Prisons: Warehousing the Oppressed. Defining the Prison’s Emotional Ethos. Human Breakdown Created by Prison’s Emotional Ethos. A Theology to the Oppressed in a Maximum-Security Prison. Components of Empowerment Needed for Prison Ministry. Society Without Souls: Transient Choices. A Choice for a Peaceful Heart. Appendix A: Letters from Inmates. Appendix B: Glossary of Prison Terms. Appendix C: One-Hour Sessions for Christian Education Component. Appendix D: Order for Corporate Reconciliation. Appendix E: Outline Sermon: Being Genuine. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

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