Living life as a Christian in prison can be challenging. Many of these men and women find themselves isolated, in the midst of a culture that doesn’t share or reflect their values, struggling to hold onto beliefs that are constantly being challenged and ridiculed.
The new installment of Prison Fellowship Insider looks at the community of faith inside Salinas Valley State Prison in California, and examines how a class designed to create spiritual leaders in prison is having an impact on the men incarcerated there, and how it is preparing them to contribute to their communities after they are released.
“Trying to strive and just live by the Spirit and serve God, sometimes we get the feeling of we’re all alone in our walk—we’re all alone in our struggle, in this war, this battle that we’re in,” says Andre Polito, a resident at Salinas Valley. “But being in this class, it enables me to lean on other brothers. It reminds me that I’m not alone in this battle, that there are like-minded brothers who are in this struggle with me.”
“As long as inmates are getting out of prison, we need to offer something,” says Correctional Lieutenant Darren Chamberlain. “Now it’s up to them to accept it. You can make somebody change, but you have to offer them the opportunity to change, and that’s what we’re trying to do here. It’s definitely a positive for the prisons, and more importantly, for the communities.”
To learn more about opportunities to encourage and support men and women and prison, and to be a part of in-prison programming like the class at Salinas Valley, visit https://www.prisonfellowship.org/action.