THE MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY IS
DAYLIGHT CHRISTIAN PRISON TRUST
England has 140 prisons. In February 2011 the number of prisoners in the UK was 84,469 - 80300 male and 4139 female (4.9 %).
There has been an increase of almost 1% in the prison population in the last year. 7781 people were held in the 15 Scottish prisons in February 2011 and the projection is that this will rise by 2016/17 to 8500.
A prison sentence has consequences for families. One third of petty offenders lose their home while in custody, two fifths lose contact with their families, and two thirds lose their jobs.
Many prisoners have literacy and numeracy difficulties with reoffending rates as high as 59%. 40% of women prisoners have previously attempted suicide. This is the background against which prison charities operate.
Daylight is a Christian trust which works to bring the light of the Gospel of Jesus to prisoners across the country. ‘Day One’ diaries are given to prisoners which have opened doors or visits from prison chaplains and Daylight trained volunteers. Recently over one year, 4000 prisoners were visited. Some have gone on to complete the Christianity Explored course or attend a regular Bible study.
Stephen had served a 4 year sentence after a ten year downward spiral and he felt he had lost all hope. During his time inside he was visited by someone who explained the good news of Jesus. Stephen became a Christian and found new hope for his future. When he was released Christians helped him re-build his life, he now works with Daylight to bring the life changing news of his Saviour to other prisoners.
Many prisoners are contacted from all walks of life. Some are only “inside” for a short time (49% are on a short term sentence) but for some prison becomes a way of life, coming in, going out, re-offending and returning. This leads to many feeling insecure and vulnerable. Daylight has set up a number of support groups to provide local support to ex-offenders helping them to re-integrate into a local community and rebuild their lives
With the largest prison population in Europe and a costly high re-offending rate there is a need to break the cycle of crime. Pray that Daylight may be able to continue to find open doors and show that the real answer to life’s difficulties can only be found in Jesus.
(Source Published information from Daylight Trust.)