Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more prisons are requesting Inside Journal.
When COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic back in March, correctional facilities throughout the United States were put on lockdown, with family visitation and in-prison programming limited or even suspended. But the mission of Prison Fellowship®—to restore the lives and communities affected by crime and incarceration—continued.
Prison Fellowship sprang into action to respond to the needs of prisoners and prison chaplains through a variety of ways, including through our quarterly newspaper for prisoners: Inside Journal®.
Printed and distributed by Prison Fellowship to correctional facilities across the country, Inside Journal is a full-color publication written specifically for incarcerated men and women. Each issue explains the Gospel in a fresh way, offers encouragement and motivation, and shares practical advice for the daily struggles of prison life.
In addition to increasing quantities of Inside Journal to many facilities, we also expanded our Inside Journal Life Recovery Bible distribution. And finally, we offered our special Reception and Orientation (R&O) edition of Inside Journal to prison chaplains through the Storehouse. The response to this R&O edition was tremendous.
A SPECIAL EDITION OF INSIDE JOURNAL
Launched in 2019, the R&O edition has proven to be a reliable resource for chaplains serving in Reception and Orientation units. Within these units, incoming prisoners are housed in separate onboarding or intake areas, where they undergo prison orientation, reading their facility’s rule book and learning the ropes before moving to general population a few days or even weeks later.
The full-color, four-page R&O edition of Inside Journal features helpful tips on transitioning into prison life—like sleeping well, staying healthy, and avoiding conflict. It also offers new prisoners a unique way to discover the hope of Jesus at the start of their incarceration.
ESSENTIAL READING FOR QUARANTINED PRISONERS
Although intended to serve as a supplement for prisons with established R&O units, the R&O edition of Inside Journal quickly became popular amongst chaplains and prisoners at facilities without dedicated R&O units.
This popularity was sparked by the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases rose, state and federal facilities were placed under lockdown. Many prisons created makeshift COVID-19 quarantine areas to isolate incoming prisoners until they were tested and cleared of the coronavirus.
On March 26, Prison Fellowship reached out to chaplains via email and announced that the R&O edition was available free of charge at the Storehouse. Since then, we have distributed nearly 10,000 copies of the R&O edition alone. Prison chaplains and corrections staff have ordered in bulk for the prisoners in their charge, recognizing not just the need for reading material during quarantine that helps acclimate prisoners to incarceration but for Inside Journal's message of hope, too.
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