UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

24

Chapter 6

HOLIDAYS AND DEALING WITH MONEY

 

Holidays are hard times for everyone with a loved one in prison. Visits, cards and pictures of family and friends are very helpful. Don’t be surprised however if your friend or relative experiences a “crash” afterwards. Many do. The reality of prison hits hard when they are back in their cells again. Many of the normal activities are halted during the holidays for prisoners. This, unfortunately, gives an inmate more time to think and be sad. It is also hard to get the officers to do anything for an inmate during this time because they will use the excuse, “It’s a Holiday”.

Holidays are no holiday in prison. There is a holiday meal and some holiday special events like some games in which the inmates can participate. But for many, the holidays is a time that inmates think about what it would be like to experience that time of year on the outside. Sometimes this is so hard to think about that others try to stay super busy so they don’t have to. Some become so depressed they just do nothing for days.

Praise God for his comfort and peace! For a new Christian in prison, it is not always bad because he has Jesus Christ in his life and Jesus is the author of peace and happiness no matter what the circumstance. Holidays can affect a Christian just like anyone else, but he can make the choice to stand on the Word and promises of God and choose peace. In doing so, he can walk in a blessed, almost supernatural way.

There are so many ways that you can help your friend or loved one in prison during the Holidays. Communication is above all the most important way. Letters, cards, and especially pictures mean so much to prisoners. Many times when I feel down, I will pull out my photo album and reminisce about different memories. Some might think that that would be depressing, but as a Christian, it provides hope and joy. With hope, sorrow and depression can vanish and a person can be inspired through Jesus Christ to continue on in a positive way or help others around him.

Encouragement is another very important way to help the new Christian in prison. Encourage him to keep studying the Bible and always remind him about his hope in Christ. Remind him continually that he has a heavenly father who loves him dearly. Holidays do get easier with time. The first one is the worst and from there it becomes easier for an inmate to accept that time of year and deal with all of its emotions.

Money is another pressing issue. Holidays are a great time of year to help your friend or loved one in prison by sending money for his account. Money is so important in prison life that it is always a subject of interest. Contrary to popular belief, your friend or loved one will need money to survive in prison. The State does not provide everything necessary for him. There have been times that inmates have asked their loved ones for money and have been turned down because the general thought on the outside is that he will use it for drugs or something illegal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Once an inmate is moved to a more permanent location after quarantine, the little bit of help he received from the State will end. He is left to take care of himself. There are job offers, but there is a waiting list. Many have to wait a month or two before a job opening becomes available. During this time, an inmate will need some type of support from friends and family. Even when he does start working, he still will not receive much pay. An average job in prison pays $20 to $30 a month. There are higher paying jobs of

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