Beginning with a discussion of the growth of the prison population in the United States, this article addresses the reasons for congregations to become involved with outreach to prisoners, from a perspective of restorative justice. It provides suggestions for talking within the congregation about the biblical call to minister to those behind bars, as well as bible study and leadership development for building a prison ministry team within a congregation. It offers seven different ways to engage with prison ministry or criminal justice work, suitable for individuals and congregations with different kinds of skills and resources. This “tool box” employs a wrap-around approach to congregational engagement with the criminal justice system, addressing prevention, ministry with those who are incarcerated, victims and families, and workers in the prison system, and including reentry and advocacy.
Reviewed by Melissa Spa