An update on Prison ministry, by David Bell, Everyday Kingston

(Names have been changed to respect people’s right to privacy)

An update on my experiences  in Wandsworth Prison:
Over the last six months I have supported and befriended two prisoners in Wandsworth Prison through the Wandsworth Community Chaplaincy Trust (WCCT) which recently won an award through the Christian Funders Forum. 

The first of these only lasted for two or three visits as the prisoner who I’ll refer to as Bob ultimately became unmanageable as he was institutionalised. He had been in prison for many years and was due to be released within a couple of months. However in order to deliberately extend his sentence he became violent, kicking down a door, jumping from the landing into safety netting below. On searching Bobs cell, officers also found two home made weapons. Bob achieved his aim. His sentence was increased and he was sent to another prison. Please remember him and pray for him this Christmas, and for the many others who simply cannot face life on the out.

My second prisoner who I’ll call John is to be released on Christmas Eve. I’ve been visiting him in the prison for the past three months. He has spent most of the past thirty years in and out of various prisons. He is in his fifties and is a Heroin addict. He has in the last week had his final dose of methadone and is now drug free. He has been attending the Alpha Course in the prison chapel and we discuss this quite a lot. He was adopted at three years old. Both of his adoptive parents died on the last two years. He has no friends or relatives or accommodation to go to when released

I’ve completed forms with him for accommodation with the Nehemiah Project who are based in Streatham. They have three houses where they accommodate ex offenders and we may be able to settle him there. I’ll be meeting him weekly outside prison and trying to get him employment with Blue Sky Development who employ ex prisoners. I’ll also be going with him to Citizens Advice Bureau with him and supporting him for approx six months.

I really love doing this sort of work and always feel that God is with me when I’m in the prison. I know that this is where God wants me to be and I intend to try and do this work to the best of my ability with prayer, Gods help and your prayers too.

Please do pray for David, for our wonderful Prisons prayer team & for the UK’s 85,000+ prisoners this Christmas time; please contact us if you want to ask David something or want to find out exactly how you can get involved… 

Akhtar Shah

Leadership, Social Action, Evangelism.