COMMISSION ON PRISON MINISTRY
It is our Vision to be guided, governed, encouraged, and inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 25: “ …when I was in prison, you came and visited me….in as much as you do it to one of the least of these, you did it unto me.” We will also be governed by our Baptismal vows, which we have taken as members of the Episcopal Church.
Guided by this vision, we will endeavor to:
Empower the church families of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and the larger Church to share the love and hope of Christ with those who are in prison, and with their families.
Enable our churches to support and assist inmates upon their release, and to help them become productive members of society.
Inform our members of the inequities and injustices within our nation's criminal justice system, and to call upon them to be a compassionate and effective voice for meaningful change.
Inside the Walls
We seek to enrich and inspire incarcerated persons, with the goal of keeping released men and women from going back to prison, by serving them in Jesus’ name.
Please contact the participating Commission member for more information:
Through the work of over 30,000 volunteers, Kairos Prison Ministry brings the light, love and friendship of Jesus Christ into the lives of prisoners and their families.
The Prison Commission supports KAIROS through monetary donations for teaching materials with volunteers, and by seeking financial and spiritual support from church families.
Kairos Inside creates Christian communities inside prisons that can transform lives, decrease prison violence and reduce recidivism.
KAIROS Outside is a ministry for women who are impacted by incarceration. Spouses, parents and relatives of those in prison often “do time” along with their loved ones. KAIROS Outside lets them know they are not alone.
In Alabama, contact the Rev. Deacon Susan McKee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In Florida, contact Suzanne Olsen (email@example.com)
Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS)
The purpose of PVS is to provide prisoners with regular, face-to-face contact from the world outside of prison to help them cope with prison life and prepare for a successful reentry into society.
Reentry and Renewal
Reentry into society is one of the most important aspects of our criminal justice system. People completing their sentence need a place to live and eat, transportation, healthcare, and most importantly, they need a job and to remain substance-free. Governmental resources are not sufficient to help all formerly incarcerated persons, and many do not have a family or support group. As a result, many of them return to crime and end up back in prison.
Re-Entry Resources in our Diocese:
The Re-Entry Alliance of Pensacola (REAP)
REAP is co-located with the Richards memorial Methodist Church in the Brownsville area in Western Pensacola. They offer a full range of re-entry services including housing and job placement.
The Physical and Spiritual Christian Outreach (PASCO) Home
PASCO home is located in western Mobile and serves as a reentry facility for inmates released from Alabama state and Federal prisons.
Charting the Way Home Reentry Council
A collaboration of faith-based and community service non-profits dedicated to help ensure that reentry is successful, and recidivism is reduced.
Mary Ann White firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside the Walls
We seek to advocate for justice reform by providing our church families with the resources to learn more about the injustices in our nation’s prisons and criminal justice system. We also seek to empower our voices to address the issues of overcrowding, unacceptable living conditions, health care, violence, and failure to prepare for reentry society.
A major concern is our Episcopal Church’s call for abolition of the death penalty in the United States, as stated in the 2018 General Convention Resolution DO77 (link to the resolution here)
To Learn More About the Death Penalty:
Death Penalty Information Center (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/) provides a wealth of statistics, insight and news about the death penalty.
Visit https://deathpenaltycurriculum.org/node/5 for a series of brief essays that argue both for and against key issues: deterrence, retribution, innocence, arbitrary, and discriminatory application of the Death Penalty.
Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty (www.phadp.org) was founded in 1989 by prisoners on Alabama’s Death Row, and continues to be run by death row inmates.
Resources for Study Groups
Civil Discourse Training – a guide for engaging in meaningful conversations to enhance our understanding of people with who we disagree. Go to: http://reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf
Book Recommendations for Study Groups
“Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson chronicles the founding, work and growth of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and its commitment to indigent and underserved persons who have been denied adequate representation in the criminal justice system.
Bryan Stevenson is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL, and a long time civil rights lawyer who has argued successfully before the Supreme Court. He founded the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.
“The Sun Does Shine,” by Anthony Ray Hinton is an inspirational autobiography describing how one man ensured 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. The Commission’s John Olson developed a study of Scripture based on this book that can be used for small group studies. (link to pdf of John Olson’s study guide)
“Outrageous Justice” – designed by Prison Fellowship Ministries, this book provides a six-week small group study to learn about the challenges in the American criminal justice system and explores how Christians can respond in hands-on ways to pursue justice and bring about true hope, restoration and healing. Comes with a DVD and study guide to enhance discussion and understanding. https://www.prisonfellowship.org/about/justicereform/landing-pages/outrageous-justice
To Learn More About the American Criminal Justice System:
St. Paul's, Foley
St. Simon's on the Sound, Fort Walton Bch
Christ the King, Santa Rosa Beach
The Rev. Bob Graves
Chapel of St. Dismas, Atmore
Christ Church, Pensacola
The Rev. Deacon Susan McKee
St. Peter's, Bon Secour
St. James, Fairhope
St. John's, Pensacola
The Rev. Richard Proctor
Christ the King, Santa Rosa Beach
The Rev. Deacon Ed Richards
Grace and St. Thomas, Panama City Beach
St. Mark's, Troy
Mary Ann White
All Saints, Mobile
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