Item description for When Prisoners Return: Why We Should Care and How You and Your Church Can Help by Pat Nolan...
Overview "When Prisoners Return" identifies the need for individuals and churches to be involved as prisoners return to society; this book also equips individuals and churches with the information they need to effectively assist former prisoners.
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More About Pat Nolan
Pat Nolan is an ordained minister of the Gospel and teaches and ministers worldwide, often appearing as a guest on Christian television. She has a graduate degree in Biometry and Statistics from Cornell University, and before accepting the call to ministry, she taught Statistics at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Her ministry was radically changed by the message of the Cross, and she teaches seminars that unveil the Father's love as shown through Jesus Christ and His finished work at the Cross. Pat and her husband Dan, a renowned physicist, reside in upstate New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about When Prisoners Return: Why We Should Care and How You and Your Church Can Help?
Disturbing. Compelling. Enlightening. Practical. Jun 1, 2005
When Prisoners Return is a handbook for believers involved or looking to be involved in prison ministry.
600,000 offenders are returning to America's neighborhoods. Where will they live? Where will they work? How will they get around? Where can they worship? How will they live?
These are questions that face every believer working with inmates. Bringing Bibles, holding coffeehouses, and even holding chapel services and Bible studies is not enough. As a body, we stand in danger of blessing them to "be warm and fed" and leaving them cold and empty-handed with little hope for their lives.
Nolan has some staggering facts: 6.5 million Americans are either in prison or on parole. in some areas 80% of offenders return to prison faith-based programs can drop recidivism in half or less more than 1.5 million children have a parent in prison
More than half the book is devoted to resources for educational materials, Christian books, health care, housing, addiction programs, clothes etc. My wife and I have been involved in prison ministry for three years and didn't know about many of these resources available to us and our "flock". It will make a difference in our ability to bless others.
The only things needed are volunteers to befriend, mentor, or guide an ex-offender in this desperately-needed outreach. It is truly kingdom work. And it is a blessing for everyone concerned.
Insightful and practical Apr 18, 2005
Pat Nolan begins his book with a startling statistic: This year alone 600,000 inmates will be released from prison. Nolan devotes the rest of the book explaining why and how society in general--and the Christian Church in particular--should and can respond.
The book is a nice blend of facts and figures, resources, and real-life examples of the obstacles facing ex-prisoners and how those obstacles can be overcome. The content is arranged well, especially in terms of what ex-prisoners need: A changed heart, a welcoming church and loving mentors, a safe place to live, a good job, etc. But Nolan also devotes chapters to larger societal concerns: repairing the harm done by crime, and restoring peace to the community.
In addition, the fact that slightly more than half the book is devoted to lisiting published and community resources makes When Prisoners Return an exceptionally practical guide for individuals and churches who want to make a difference in the lives of ex-prisoners and in their own communities.
Potentially a very good book, but somewhat disappointing Mar 19, 2005
I read the first few pages online before ordering, and this seemed like a really good book. When it arrived, I started reading, and thought that my initial assessment was correct, but soon found that the book, while listed as 168 pages long, has only 60 pages of actual text. The balance (more than half the book) is resources, or lists of information that could be useful in prison ministry. Some of these resources might be useful, except that there is quite a lot of duplication. For every chapter (9 of them), there is a section of resources listed as relevant to that chapter, but a lot of . For example, for every one of the 9 chapters's resources, Prison Fellowship is listed first, with about half a page of information, with virtually identical information in every case.
I am not sorry I bought this book, there is good information in the 60 pages, but this is not quite what I expected of a book listed as having 168 pages.
The publisher listing the book as 168 pages is also a little misleading. There are a total of 143 numbered pages, the rest being introduction and foreword, table of contents, a number of blank pages and a few pages of advertising at the end.
Ready or Not... Sep 22, 2004
This book opened my eyes to the fact that, whether we are ready or not, people are returning from prison, but it's up to us to decide what they return to. Will it be their old habits, old friends, and old neighborhoods that got them into trouble? Or will another avenue be offered to them with guidance, skills, and perseverance as their new habits? When a newly-released person needs to learn these new habits, the Church communities are a good place for them to seek help. This book gives all communities useful and practical tools on how to help with a long list of resources. It's always easier to learn from the resources provided in this book rather than each community having to re-invent and re-invest in the same old strategies.
The prisoners are coming and now we can be prepared to greet them with the tools they will need to stay out of prison.
Redemption and Reformation Sep 8, 2004
Pat Nolan's When Prisoners Return is an operating manual for church based organizations that are committed to helping ex-convicts successfully return to their own communities but not quite sure as to how to do it. Although it has faith as a major component of its program, much of the program deals with day-to-day issues such as helping the returning prisoners find a place to live, create resumes, get access to job interviews, etc. Additionally, the program's success is linked to the prisoner starting it prior to his or her release.
What it is not is a program that will appeal to the moral relativists who think that criminals are the victims of society who should be pitied. Rather, the book (a term I use loosely since it is only 60 pages of text and almost 80 more of good reference material and organizational information) places the status of the victim where it belongs: with the victim. The criminal is seen as someone who has made the wrong moral choice. There is no equivocation or relevance about right and wrong here, and that should appeal to Christians to whom morality still means something.
Additionally, it is not an eye-for-an-eye justice book either. Although quotes from both testaments are used, the healing and forgiving nature of the New Testament is emphasized; however, the cold hard reality that most ex-convicts should never be allowed to take advantage of those who are trying to help them is not ignored. But, help them we must!
Since faith and community are the focus of the help program described, it would seem that this book is better suited for churches in communities that have a "problem" with returning convicts. Church communities that have few or no occasions of returning convicts seem to be left out of the equation, and that is a shame although I certainly do not think it is the intent of the author to exclude them. Mr. Nolan's own example of his experience with the Angel Tree organization is an example of how church members who do not have a recurring returning prisoner issue can help. A chapter on limited and partial involvement for churches like the ones I described (or ones that might be hesitant to join in due to the very nature of the program) would be helpful in prodding them to at least try to help. A small seed might just germinate into a giant oak as a result. The references in the back can help one accomplish this goal, but one has to hunt to find the right ones.
Whether your church organization is interested in partial or full participation in helping prisoners, their families, and their communities, you should by this work.