Prisoners, prison staff, victims of crime, families of prisoners and prison chaplains are being prayed for each day in churches for a week starting today.
The Bishop of Llandaff, Rt Rev June Osborne who is leading daily prayer videos, says praying for those touched by prison life is crucial :
“It is important that we pray for this sphere of our social life. We know that life in prison can be harsh, even brutal. But we also know because we hear the witness of it from prisoners and ex-prisoners that during their time in prison, God’s love can reach out to them, and it can transform their lives.”
This year for the first time, the prayer resources have been published in English and Welsh.
Rev Nick Sandford who is Managing Chaplain for Public Sector Prisons in South Wales said :
“As part of the Prisons Week, we won't just be thinking about people in prison. We'll also be thinking about what we can do as a prison service to help people rehabilitate themselves. In the long term, the whole thing of prison is about reducing crime, reducing reoffending, and not creating more victims.
“People seem to think that prisoners are some sort of thing that we manufacture, but actually prisoners are just people from the community who have to come to prison for a short time and then go back out into the community. We are praying that they can find focus for their lives when they're released.
“We believe as a prison chaplaincy that God can change lives. God can change people to turn away from a career of crime and to a more positive way of life, and we [prison chaplains] need the support in that and prisoners need the support in that through praying.
“We can ask God to bless our work in prisons because most of the work in prisons is done to rehabilitate people, whether it be through positive things like education, work, family behaviour programmes, substance misuse, all these sorts of things, so we pray that these programmes will be successful, but also that the men are willing to change and can see a new focus in their lives; that God will show them that there is interaction for them and that things don't have to carry on as they always have. I'm really proud to be a prison chaplain.”