People are often surprised when we say that PovertySwap has Partners involved with Prison work. This may well be due to a commonly held view that prisons in the UK, for example, are ‘a bit of a holiday camp that seem to hold out little hope for reformed character or improvement to society’. Commonly held view maybe but probably not quite accurate!
People across the world are in prison for many reasons. In some countries the criminal mindset is almost a cultural characteristic which leads to prisons being full and under pressure – and extremely unpleasant places.
Our Partners are responsible for chaplaincy, social care and rehabilitation services within many prisons. Overcrowding, mixed male and female units and unsanitary conditions are some of the basic human dilemmas on the inside. Survival of families, women and children thrust into poverty with no hope of provision, and an increase in the dangers of sex trafficking particularly of female ex-offenders looking for a better life, are real issues for which the Prison Team seeks practical solutions daily.
Despair, depression and hopelessness are the enemies of the human heart and in prisons men, women and even children in some cases are continually haunted by those dark feelings. We are convinced that our Partners carry light into such dark environments seeking to work together with those whom they can to bring fair and practical solutions as well as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing for individuals, victims and communities alike.
If we are to make a real PovertySwap at the most basic grassroots level prisons are not the most popular places to start. However we are convinced that within those walls and razorwire fences beat the hearts of community leaders, fathers, teachers and society’s powerful who, when making the right choices for good and not for evil, can make a transforming impact on society and nation.