Inside Out: What Prisoners Need from the Rest of Us

01.31.18 | Martha Manikas-Foster

More than one in every 100 adults in America is behind bars, and Jesus asks his followers to visit them.  But most of us have little contact with prisoners—and even less of an idea how we could invest in their lives or offer hope.         

“I say it all the time, that a very dim light shines all the brighter in a very dark place,” says Jesse Wiese, Director of Community Engagement for the ministry Prison Fellowship. “And so when you go into the prison system in the United States, it’s a dark place. And you don’t have to bring much, and the Gospel is a light that shines in all the vast corners.” 

We can believe that all of God’s children are loved and valued, and we can know that “the ground is level at the cross,” but those who minister to prisoners test this belief, and, Wiese says, learn a few things about themselves.  

“You will find some very dark things inside prisons,” he says. “Sometimes it is a reflection of who we all are. And so I think that once that transition—that process—begins to occur, we become—as volunteers, people who are coming inside of prison—you become just more rounded. More humble. You have a much more—deeper, I think--perspective just for all of humanity.”


Hear my 13-minute conversation with Jesse Wiese by clicking the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above.


Learn more about Prison Fellowship’s work to support restoration for those affected by incarceration.


Read stories of how people have lived their faith behind bars in Christian History Magazine issue #123, “Captive Faith: Prison as Parish.” Christian History Magazine routinely sends free copies of its magazine to hundreds of people in prison.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 02.01.18 commented

My Spanish Pastors, Fernando and Rosa Villa who are also chaplains, are looking into doing prison ministry using their language to assist with the Spanish prison population. They are from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Can you guide them in attain this Prison Ministry fellowship. Any help you can give them greatly appreciated. They do speak and understand some English. Thank you and God bless

on 02.06.18 Martha commented

It is good to hear from you,and to hear of how your pastors would like to volunteer in prison ministry.

Please ask Fernando and Rosa Villa to connect to Prison Fellowship by going to this website:

or this:

Thank you for making contact!

on 02.06.18 Martha commented

Thank you for listening to the Family Life Inside Out podcast about prison ministry, and thank you for wanting to help guide your pastors to Prison Fellowship.

The simplest way for your pastors to connect with Prison Fellowship and discuss volunteering opportunities is for them to use this website link:

Once they open this webpage, they will see an opportunity to fill out a form, which will connect them to Prison Fellowship and the opportunity to discuss specific ways to volunteer with prisoners.




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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