Many predators use religion as a means of trapping your friend or relative. They will build a relationship with him as a good guy, one that can be trusted. Exactly at the right moment, the predator will spring it on your friend or loved one. It could be drugs, alcohol, sex or just a trick to get some money from him. Some predators become extremely good at this kind of manipulation after years of practice. When the predator shows his true colors, a new Christian inmate can easily fall victim like many others before him.

Those on the dark side of prison have nothing to lose and everything to gain through their evil. Every victim is like another notch in his belt giving him even bigger status of approval within the 'family' of predators. By roping another sucker or humiliating another inmate, it makes them look bigger or more important. Their goal is to feed off of the misfortune of others. It is also entertaining for the predator. They play with their victims like a cat plays with a mouse before the kill. In most cases, there is still time for an inmate to get out of the situation in which he is caught, but it takes prayer and support through communication with their friends and loved ones. It is hard for friends and family on the outside to understand and it is hard for them to accept what the inmate is telling them.

The scams that are used are too numerous to count. Even if I could write them all down it would not be effective because they keep evolving. There are some basic rules to follow to be sure that you are truly helping your friend or loved one and not enabling him if he is involved in the dark side of prison. He may ask for money and true, money is needed in prison. If he is involved in something bad, it may cost him money to break free of it because of the debt involved. So it is good to set up a certain amount to help him with every month if you feel right about helping him and stick to that amount. There may be times that more may be needed, but pay close attention to the reason for the need and the urgency of the request. Above all and as always, pray about it. Be aware if God was mentioned at all in the conversations when a request is made.

Being on the dark side of prison will bring out the dark side of an individual. Just because you are not in prison won't mean that you can't see a scam. There is great joy in the Lord. Brothers and sisters who fellowship with Jesus will have great joy, happiness and peace. Christians are not perfect, just forgiven so even though we are saved and serving the Lord we still have the old nature. The Holy Spirit's power can snuff out the ugly old nature if one stays close to the Lord. Keeping your loved one or friend close to the Lord will help him fight temptation from the old nature or flesh. That's the best way to help a new Christian in prison.

If you receive a request from your friend or loved one in prison and feel uneasy about it, pray about it. Ask God for wisdom. The Holy Spirit will guide you in making the right choices. In James 1:5 it says, 'If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.' Your faith can be built up in God by knowing He has given you the wisdom to see through scams and understand what true needs are.

I was given the responsibility to hold one of our churches tithe boxes. These tithes and offerings are in the form of items from the inmate store since we can not handle money. My job was to pass these items out to those in need.  These were God's items not mine so I did not want to misrepresent God. I prayed and asked God to not let anyone come to me with a need unless it was okay with Him. I had my days of doubt, but for the most part I

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