UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
the outside from friends and relatives, an inmate will receive an envelope or slip with the amount posted on it. Unfortunately, sometimes the outside money comes in right after the store is closed for another two weeks. Then this causes an inmate to have to go to the store man and pay a premium. So if you can ask your friend or family member what the store schedule is, it could save them money and stress by giving him money before the store is scheduled to open so he can get his necessities from the store itself and not the store man.
Some new Christian inmates take certain verses of the Bible too literal and get confused. They read verses that discourage borrowing such as Deut. 15:6 and Prov. 22:7 . which say 'the borrower is servant to the lender'. A new Christian may feel like he is doing wrong and outside the will of God. Helping him financially and in a timely manner will prevent your friend or loved one's growth in the Lord from being interrupted by these thoughts.
December is a major ordering month. Inmates are allowed to add 15 more items to their store list. These items are a once a year purchase and usually are food items because of Christmas. Everyone in prison looks forward to these new items in December. The items are ordered on a first come first served basis. Once they are gone, they are gone. So during December, an inmate has his 2 open store as usual and add $15 extra for the holidays. It's the first store of the month that is important. Inmates with money available buy up all the good items then. The second store of December does not have as many special items left to buy. It is a big help to your friend or loved one to send his Christmas money early in November to ensure he will be able to buy some of those special once a year items. There may be variations in the prison system concerning the inmate store and its policies. Some states might not even have an inmate store. If you want to help, the best way to understand all of this is to ask the inmate how things operate in their prison.
There are items that you would consider basic on the outside, but they are considered a luxury in prison. A TV, typewriter, hair dryer, desk lamp, radio, tape player, and foot locker are a few that really help a long term inmate. A short term inmate would not really need these items. These items are expensive and it takes a very long time for an inmate to save the money to buy even one of them. To be so privileged as to own these items really helps to pass the time and reduce stress in prison. TVs cost $160, foot lockers cost $80 and so on. Maybe you can't help with these items, but if you can in a small steady way, it would make a world of difference for your friend or loved one. Such acts of kindness, encourages the new Christian inmate in more ways than one.
Prisons are made out of steel and concrete. Most of the items purchased are made out of plastic. The better the quality of the item purchased the longer it will last because a steel and concrete environment is not friendly to cheap plastic items. If something breaks, there is a lot of waiting time between orders. To be a big help to your friend or loved one it takes a conscious effort to stay on top of his needs. This is one of the greatest blessings you can give him in prison. New Christians grow through this encouragement in more ways than you can imagine. Just knowing that someone consistently cares is an amazing feeling when one is in prison.
Clothing is provided by the State in limited amounts. For example, it provides a type of factory working shoe which are not very comfortable. For winter, the State provides a lightly padded coat, hat and mittens which are made out of the same material
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