UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
Day to Day Life in Prison
This chapter was written to help friends and family understand what day to day life in prison is like for a new Christian. Quarantine is finally over. Your friend or relative is feeling good about getting out of that first prison! Of course, when he arrives at the regular prison he has to go through the prison’s initiation process again. Upon arrival, he must take a urine test. Then he gets his bed roll and any property that he has. Most regular prisons look ten times better than the quarantine prison, so he is starting to have good feelings about everything.
He goes to his unit and then to his cell to unpack. At first, there will be an uneasy feeling here because he will be moving into a cell with another prisoner. Of course, this depends upon the level of security into which he is place. Prison levels go from level I to level V or that is from minimum to maximum security prisons. Level V, the maximum security level, has single man cells and an inmate will only be let out of his cell for one hour a day. Level IV security prisons are double bunked cells and inmates are let out of their cells about four to five hours a day. Most prisoners go to level II prison. Here the inmate is out of his cell most of the day and may even have a key to his room in many places.
I was in level 4 for the first 4 ½ years of my incarceration. When an inmate is first getting out of quarantine, a Level 4 feels like a Level 2 prison, but the feeling doesn’t last long. If your friend or loved one is in this level, he will find out real quick just how small a cell can be for two grown men living together. They will have a double bunk bed, a desk and two chairs, a double locker and of course, a stainless steel sink and toilet. The cell door only opens when the officers push a button on the control panel or use their keys. If one happens to get a good “bunky” when he first arrives, he should consider himself very blessed. The truth of the matter is, upon arrival, one usually is at the “bottom of the barrel” for everything in that unit. So, usually the bunky the new inmate gets is usually one with whom no one else in the unit wants to share a cell.
For the new Christian, it makes him get on his knees in prayer to God to seek deliverance and peace in that cell. It is extremely difficult to learn to live for Christ and be in a room with another man most of the day who is not a Christian. Remember in prison, good is bad and bad is good. Some guys will try one’s patience every day. They will go out of their way to persecute the new Christian and tempt him to start acting in a worldly way so that they can mock him and say, “I knew you weren’t a real Christian.”
There seem to be daily trials that go on for weeks at a time. The misery and pain is like a fungus that grows continually. It doesn’t stop with just one’s bunky. When other prisoners see that the new Christian inmate is truly trying to be good and not bad, they will also try to push him into being one of them. His rights will be trampled and they will keep harassing him to get him to react in some worldly way. Pray hard for your friend or relative and encourage him to pray hard and cry out to God for help and comfort through these seemingly endless waves of injustice.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trials which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1Peter 4:12-13 NKJV)
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