Christians give helping hand to prisoners
By Gail Halley
Norwich Christians are making sure that men do not leave prison empty-handed when they are released after finishing their sentence.
When Duncan McInnes of the Norwich Besom project realised that men were leaving prison to start a new life with virtually nothing, he decided that city Christian charity Besom could do something practical to help – and the idea of prisoner packs was conceived.
A prisoner pack is a good quality backpack filled with anything that will make life easier for someone coming out of prison. Typically they contain a phone card, a comb, toothpaste and brush, shaving cream, soap, deodorant, socks and, on a lighter note, some chocolate and other treats, and a supermarket voucher.
One or two churches have taken hold of the idea and produced a number of packs – but the scope is endless.
The idea has been enthusiastically received by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
The packs are distributed via Project 91 who help ex-offenders when they first come out of prison. "For many men it is their only possession," said Duncan. "They appreciate having their own toiletries and the backpack itself is proving to be very useful. Each pack contains a small card inscribed 'This comes with God's Love from Christians in Norwich'."
To quote one recipient: "Someone has bothered to think about what I really needed – bloody marvellous."
For more information about the Besom in Norwich, see www.besom.com/norwich/index.htm
See Norwich Besom article on this website