Prison Ministry Training
Dear Prison Ministry Volunteer*:
Thank you for your interest in this manual, Prison Ministry Volunteer Training Workshop. This manual will be of benefit to:
- Volunteers who minister inside institutions
- Mentors who work with ex-offenders
- Volunteers who provide various ministries, such as Bible study instructors, correspondents, etc.
The manual consists of three chapters.
Chapter 1: Ministry within defined parameters
- The rules and regulations can be summarized in a few "do's and don'ts"—their implications are not always clear
- These provisions provide insight into rules which are important to staff, which they believe will provide a "safe and humane environment" for inmates and staff alike inside institutions
Chapter 2: The effects of incarceration
- A description of the inmate population is included
- By its very nature, a prison is dehumanizing. Some of the “deprivations” are described
- Many inmates experience despair and hopelessness while incarcerated
- Mature volunteers are able to connect faith and life, serve as role models and provide an environment where growth and healing can take place
Chapter 3: Restorative Justice in Prison Ministry
- An introduction to restorative justice is provided
- Six restorative justice principles are identified and ways to incorporate them into current prison ministries are provided
Each session lasts approximately two hours. The whole course can be taught in a day-long session or divided into three separate evening sessions. Two manuals and video presentations are provided on the web. The manuals can be downloaded and printed front-to-back.
Participant’s Manual. Each participant is encouraged to have a manual, for use in the exercises and taking notes.
Facilitator’s Manual. This manual includes directions to and materials for all the exercises, answers to questions and directions for use of the video presentations
The video presentations include:
- Questions and answers based on each chapter
- A description of restorative justice
- A presentation on "forgiveness" one of the key restorative justice principles provided in the third chapter.
As you minister to inmates or mentor former inmates, may this manual prepare you to minister more effectively as you truly provide an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance—a place where inmates are able to experience God’s grace and forgiving love.
Rev. John Lamsma
*NOTE: This manual is geared to ministry in correctional facilities in the U.S. The Canadian Correctional System is different enough that a bi-national manual could not be written.