Prisons Awareness Course
We have put together a three session course for faith groups who want to explore what it might mean to welcome people leavig prison into their community.
We believe that this will both inspire and challenge whether you have any experience of this type of work or not. It will enable you as a faith community to examine your beliefs together and through discussion and practical encounter get to know the people who live in, work in and who will eventually be released from our prisons.
Session one and Session three have been written for groups of three or four people to comfortably work though in about 90 minutes with no outside support. Each group will need a member who will agree to be a facilitator - someone who will simply keep track of time and guide the group through the various sections and activities.
Session two is a longer session and takes place within a prison and is facilitated in liaision with the Prison Chaplaincy team.
Prison Awareness Course
Before you start on this course, we suggest strongly that you (or the person who will be facilitating your first and third sessions) reads the "Start Here" guide. This is designed to help you prepare for the sessions so the group can get the most out them. Some facilitators have encouraged all members to read the notes so that they understand the context of the sessions and what the hoped for outcome is. Download Start Here.
Session 1 - Beyond the prison gates
What do you think about people leaving prison? Many prisons stand enclosed behind a 25ft fence and unless it is an open prison, most prisoners are confined to often cramped cells for much of the time, hidden away from the general public; forgotten.
Many of our ideas about prisons and prisoners are learnt from movies or stories in newspapers; many of those views can be biased, outdated or unhelpful, particularly as we think about welcoming people who have spent time in prison into the heart of faith communities on the outside. Unless we have experienced it for ourselves, it can be hard to understand the consequences of a prison sentence and what support can make a difference.
This first session will introduce you to themes, ideas and information designed to lead you to a greater understanding of the issues surrounding imprisonment and release
Session 2 - Faith in Prison
So what is a prison like? What happens when someone is released? Leaving prison and trying to settle in another community can be like standing at the foot of a cliff. Climbing up can be difficult and it is easy to fall! A guide and the right supports can make the climb easier.
This second session is based within a prison and will be hosted by people who belong to the various faith communities represented within the prison. It is to be run from within the establishment by the prison chaplaincy team. The session worksheet will be provided by your hosts at the prison, however the notes below will help you prepare for session 2
Session 3 - who we are
Faith communities can offer a spiritual home, a friendly community of steady and supportive relationships as well as appropriate practical assistance to people leaving prison.
This third session explores the connections between faith communities at their best and some of the aspects research has shown are important to help people leaving prison to build towards a new life that is free from crime.
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