According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Life’s most urgent and persistent question is: what are you doing for others?”
For over two decades, Prison Fellowship (PF) Jamaica has been partnering with the Department of Correctional Services in carrying out ministry to those held captive behind bars. We minister to the spiritual needs of inmates and wards, foster their rehabilitation, assist their families and facilitate their re-integration into society as productive, law-abiding citizens.
Most of the programmes coordinated by PF Jamaica are carried out in association with local churches. Ultimately, the aim is for the church to disciple the inmate and his/her family and assists in his/her re-integration into the community. Our core programmes are:
- Bible Study
- Inmates welfare Assistance
- Assistance to inmates families
- Aftercare and resettlement
- Angel Tree
- Restorative Justice
The Angel Tree Programme is one of the flagship programmes developed by Prison Fellowship International and was modified to fit the Jamaican context. A process is developed whereby names of children of inmates are collected and Christmas gifts are presented to these children on behalf of the incarcerated parents through our church affiliates. The churches will then keep in touch with the inmates’ ultimately to disciple the inmate and his/her family and to assist in his/her reintegration into the community. PF Jamaica coordinates and monitors the progress of the programme.
Some other areas of accomplishments and programmes include:
- An annual medical Health Outreach programme which provide medical and dental care to inmates and wards of the state in the correctional facilities.
- Provision of annual Christmas care packages to inmates who do not have family support.
- Summer camp for inmates’ children (held 2012 and 2013) bearing in mind that a significant number of children of inmates become offenders themselves. Due to financial constraints, no summer camp programme was offered this year.
- Refurbishing of bathroom facilities and upgrade plumbing system and the provision of urinals and toilets to Tower Street and St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centres.
- Refurbishing of the auditorium at the South Camp Road facility.
The driving force behind what we do is the undying belief that the transforming grace of Jesus Christ can change any man. We rise to the challenges of this ministry, fully persuaded that “no life is beyond the reach of God’s redemptive Power”.
Significant to the success of the work we do as a ministry are the many volunteers who have committed themselves and have remained faithful over these years. They are truly unsung heroes: never read about, talked about or honoured. For the most part, the only persons who celebrate them are the people they serve.
Mother Theresa posits: “At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by , “I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.”
We wish the department well as we continue to work together to build our country.