Church leader says prison ministries should adhere to rules

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The head of the Prison Reformation Committee and local church leader has warned the authorities to be careful about the people they allow into prisons to minister to inmates.
 Bishop Charlesworth Browne of Christian Ministries Church told OBSERVER media that he believes prison ministers must be asked to meet the strict requirements of the facility.
“Many prisons across the Caribbean are having problems related to security breaches,” he said. “Things have gone into the prisons that should not be there and they have gotten there by various means: drugs, alcohol, contrabands and weapons.”
Bishop Browne said that some religious groups may think that prison administrations are not allowing them in to worship with inmates but that is not the case. He did say, however, that they must abide by the strict rules that are in place.
“Somebody does not just walk into the prison and say, ‘I’m doing a prison ministry so I would like to go and meet with a prisoner’. There is a protocol; one would have to be known.
“One of the things that we need to keep in mind is that the prison is a part of our national security. There are security measures that must be maintained relative to visits to the prison,” the bishop said.
His comments were made in light of recent discussions about church groups wanting to minister in prisons on a regular basis, among other related issues. Bishop Browne said that while the church is making efforts to assist prisoners, more help is needed from the wider society in terms of re-integration.
“A number of churches may have outreach programmes and various prison ministries right within the prison itself. They may not only seek to look into the prisoners, but what happens to them when they come out. For us, as Christian Ministries Church, we have a half-way house ministry.”
Bishop Browne’s advice to the society at large is to build a stronger relationship with God especially during this season of Lent.

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