Hope Behind the Wall
Routledge – 2006 – 192 pages
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:
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.