UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
Shower time is a humiliating and degrading experience not to mention rushed. A prisoner must walk out of his cell with only his towel wrapped around him and his soap in hand. The closest shower is 60 to 90 feet away. If a prisoner has money in his prison account, the inmate can go to the prison store and buy simple cosmetics and shower shoes. If he doesn't have any money in his account, he must shower with the lye soap which is so harsh. He has to wear his state shoes to the shower and take them off to shower barefoot which is very unclean. The state only provides the basic necessities for an inmate's personal use such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, and a comb. A great help is to provide some funds for your loved one's prison account, so that he can purchase some items from the store as soon as possible. Many inmates get fungus on their feet and break out in hives from the lye soap. If one's toothpaste runs out, he may not get anymore for days if not weeks.
There are many scams in prison. As a Christian in prison, one should not get involved in scams for supplies so the financial support of family and friends is critical. Without some financial support, a Christian inmate is forced to go without necessities or enter the scamming game of prison. If a prisoner is not 'all in' on the scamming game, it will cost him. I have seen many a Christian inmate go without taking a shower if he didn't have the proper shower items. This leads to other inmates persecuting the individual by putting 'his business on the street' which means they tell others about him not taking a shower. Soon many other inmates are 'on him' about stinking and smelling up the 'rock' meaning the living quarters, even though he really wasn't dirty or stinking, but just had nothing to use for a shower.
There are other times throughout the week that the new prisoner may be called out of his cell during quarantine. These are times of testing by the prison system. It may be for a medical examination or psychological evaluation, or other testing of some kind. Some of these are difficult tests to go through. The Department of Corrections uses these tests to evaluate where to place a prisoner according to the type of person he is. It can be painful hearing some of their evaluations as a new Christian since those who do the evaluating can't understand how your loved one has changed recently.
Most of the time, these evaluations involve sitting and waiting for hours. Many others are waiting who don't want to be there as well. It is a hard time for a Christian because most of the conversations are full of hate, complaints, bad attitudes and evil thoughts. Of course, one could get up and sit by those who aren't spoken to, but those people are the undesirables. The prison population deems homosexuals, pedophiles, rapists, and snitches as undesirables. Sitting by them could cause others to label a Christian inmate as one of them. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that as God's children we are not to be around the undesirables. As Scripture teaches us, 'There is a time and place for everything.' This first stage of prison is not the place. However, if an undesirable befriends a Christian inmate, then he should be a friend to him because to do anything else would be to walk by fear and not by the love of God.
Your friend or relative will mentally, emotionally, and physically go through a lot during this initial stage of prison. Bad choices can happen quickly in prison that can lead to overwhelming stress. Bad choices and added stress can be avoided if trusted friends and family have a proper understanding of their loved one's environment. That's why this book is so important for the friends and family of a new Christian inmate to read.
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