Why is our Prison Ministry so Important?
- The diaries given out in the first 24 hours of an inmate’s arrival- even in centres,
people come with almost nothing so are grateful to receive the diary.
- Given out in “goody bags” at Christmas
- Prisoners use them to store phone numbers and appointments in; also they are used to
look up the verse for the day on the day of their birthday or the day of their release.
- Prisoners use them for everyday information and keep them in their pockets because
they feel that their personal information is then safe.
- When prisoners reoffend the first thing they will ask for when they return to prison
is a day one diary.
- Even the prison staff uses them to keep work rotas in!
Chaplains views on the
- Below are the voices of several chaplains from different HMP prisons. The thoughts
that these chaplains present are just a few of many positive responses to the diaries. “They are a great way of being able to offer a small practical and good quality gift to everyone, and of course
they help us to make the gospel visible to everyone in an appropriate way.”
- “Diaries are a blessing to us here; no one provides a diary like yours with daily
readings that lift their spirits, each and every day.”
- “The majority of prisoners who take the diaries are not Christians, so it an amazing
way to put the word of god in front of them day by day.”
- “Diaries are the most asked for item from prisoners and are always appreciated. We
give one to every prisoner with a Christmas card and they are greatly anticipated. They are well used and upon visiting cells, they are often in sight and I can tell that they are full of notes. They
are an effective tool in evangelism and a point of contact with the Chaplaincy.”
- “Young people will often take the diary reluctantly; they are always looking for
‘the catch’. Yet we see them reading through the pages – often turning immediately to their own date of birth to see what the Bible verse says. The fact that the Bible verses are short and simple
allows the Gospel message to be read, and often remembered. We are thanked by people with faith and people without a professed faith and so the Gospel is in the possession of many who would not
normally come into contact with any Christian material.”
- “Several of the men have commented to us that they find the short verses so helpful,
and the pictures bring just a bit of beauty into a harsh environment.”
- “Diaries are always very well received and very much sought after. Whenever we go on
a Unit we are always besieged by prisoners wanting one! It is a very positive link with the Chaplaincy and one that has become part of prison tradition.”
- “Importantly, the prisoners depend on them [diaries], and use them all the time,
whether they are Christians or not. It is a real service and act of witness to them.”
- “The pictures are so well chosen and give the prisoners a connection to the world of
nature that they are deprived of – and the verses encourage daily connection with God - giving support and encouragement.”
- “Several have commented that they find the daily message quite
- “We are so grateful for the Day One Diaries; they are so much appreciated by our
women. So I would like to thank your supporters who generously donate year in and out.”
- “We do take for granted your generosity in so faithfully supplying the diaries each
year. So many thanks to you and to all your supporters for this valuable ministry.”
- “Personally, I hope you are able to continue to provide the diaries- I take
encouragement every time we give one away from the fact that the Word of God is there, in front of a prisoner, every time he/she makes an entry or looks up a date.”
- “Thank you very much for what you do for us, and for the generosity of others who
provide the means for the diaries to come to us each year.”
Feedback and thoughts from the
- One prison collected comments from the prisoners after a service one morning. These
are just a selection from the variety of encouragements.
- “The diary really helps me with my daily Bible reading. Thanks!”
- “Thanks for your help. Keep doing the good work of God. God Bless”
- “All I want to say about the diary is a big ‘Thank you!’ May God almighty continue
to bless and replenish your good work in Jesus’ name. Amen”
- “I say they are very helpful. May God bless them with us. They are a wonderful help.
It is very helpful for all of us.”
A look behind the prison
- The following two stories are personal experiences from an inmate facing life in
jail and another anticipating his release. One occasion, a prisoner serving life asked for a chaplaincy Bible following reading the verses in his diary. He was reminded of lessons learned in church
when he was a lad and wanted a full Bible so that he could read the full stories and see if his memory was accurate.
- A prisoner was particularly animated by the days in his diary that appear to have
the scripture verses over consecutive days. He had only spotted 2 such occasions in the whole diary. The first occasion was the day before he got out and the day of his release. ‘My presence shall go
with you’ followed by ‘and I will give you rest’ – both from Exodus 33 v14. The second time linked two family birthdays over consecutive days. ‘Your Father knows’ followed by ‘the things you have
need of ’ –Both from Matthew 6 v 8. This prisoner was very encouraged and found the ‘coincidence’ to be of great blessing to him. He had come to a clear understanding and experience of the grace of
God and the uniqueness of Jesus just weeks before his release. This was matched equally by the assurance that he was not going out alone!
The Prison Ministry of DayOne now has its own website which can be found here