Our pastoral work in prisons

We have two main approaches to our prison ministry.

One approach is to facilitate a week of guided prayer in which we work with prisoners in one-to-one accompaniment sessions, helping them to have a retreat experience in their daily lives.

Another approach is to offer workshops to groups of prisoners, which can have one-to-one accompaniment offered alongside it. These workshops focus on helping prisoners to make better choices and to bring about positive change in their lives, informed by how Ignatian spirituality can work within a culture of rehabilitation.

As prisons are unique spaces, our teams can adapt to whatever the needs of the chaplaincy are, including any security considerations.

The Prison


This photograph was taken at 'The Prison Project', one of our initiatives.

Seeing yourself how God sees you

One of the effects that we see our ministry have on prisoners is simply that it helps them to have some sense of normality within their prison life. On a week of guided prayer, they often arrive tense and anxious, not knowing what to expect, but by the end of the week are relaxed, talkative and able to be a little more themselves.

Inspired by St Ignatius, we often help them to look at themselves with God and to see how God unconditionally loves them, no matter what they have done.

We have heard on numerous occasions that this ministry has moved prisoners from a feeling of desolation to knowing firsthand that they are loved and forgiven by God. We sometimes hear from prisoners, who have since been released, that they are continuing to use the ways of praying that they were taught on our retreats.

What we offer

Weeks of guided prayer

Retreat days

Communal discernment

What chaplains have to say

‘The feedback from the prisoners demonstrated the impact that has been made on these men, not only for the week, but for the rest of their lives.’
Head of Chaplaincy, HMP Haverigg

‘The team very quickly became part of the chaplaincy community. Everyone conducted themselves professionally in respect of boundaries and security and managed to engage with empathy, respect and humour with prisoners and staff alike.’
RC Chaplain, HMP Ford

‘Communication was very good: responsive, informative (including provision of promotional materials), adaptive and supportive. I appreciated the assurance that was given regarding the reality of unpredictable numbers/attendance etc of the prison context.’
RC Chaplain HMP Ford

What prisoners have to say

‘I have really enjoyed this week. It’s something I’ve never experienced. The group sessions were really useful and helpful. The one to one sessions brought me back to my past, where I lost God, and where I found him again.’
A prisoner, HMP Haverigg

‘The one to one guidance has helped me to feel better with anxiety. I will continue to use the prayers … I am that man in Luke’s Gospel keeping my faith with God into the next chapter in my life.’
A prisoner, HMP Haverigg

‘After the workshop on ‘Making good choices’ … when I got back to the wing, I had quiet time to think about my life – sometimes going too fast – I need time to be still.’
A prisoner, HMP Ford

‘A welcome respite from a long time of chaos and unclear thinking.’
A prisoner, HMP Ford

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