Episcopal shield

11815 Seven Locks Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854

church office: 301-762-8040
web: http://stjamespotomac.org
email: office@stjamespotomac.org
fax: 301-762-4076

Prison Aftercare Ministry

The Prison Aftercare Ministry was initiated in 1993 by St. James' Episcopal Church in Potomac, Maryland. The program is conducted by sixteen local churches working together and in cooperation with the chaplain at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Its purpose is to assist inmates at the Correctional Facility to improve their opportunities to grow spiritually and to build more constructive lives following their release from prison. Assistance to participating inmates is provided beginning approximately three months before the inmate's release and continuing for six months or more after release. Both men and women volunteers serve in the program, with men working with male inmates and women with female inmates.

On any given day, there are approximately 800 inmates (men and women) incarcerated at Montgomery County jails, most of whom are waiting for trial or serving sentences of 18 months or less. People convicted of more serious crimes (such as murder, armed robbery, and rape) receive longer sentences, and, therefore, serve their sentences in State prisons at other locations in the state.

Volunteers are required to complete a training course before they are assigned to work with inmates. The course includes training in listening skills and in drug and alcohol addiction. Volunteers are then usually assigned to work one-on-one with an inmate. Important parts of the training course are available in video form on DVD. Information about the videos and how to order them is below.

The Washington Post described the program in this news article that appeared Thursday, March 6, 2003.

A news article that appeared in the Rockville Gazette, January 3, 2007 also describes the program.

For more information, contact the St. James' church office.

The following area churches have members participating in the program:

St. James Episcopal Church
11815 Seven Locks Road
Potomac, MD 20854

The training videos and how to order them:

St. James' has professionally videotaped important parts of its aftercare ministry training course. Three videos have been prepared with financial assistance from the Ruth Gregory Soper Memorial Fund of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to assist churches in organizing prison ministry programs and for the training of volunteers in carrying out such ministries. These videos are available on DVD for purchase from St. James' Episcopal Church. The specific subjects covered by each video and the length of each one are as follows:

Video 1 - And you Came to Visit Me: Prison Aftercare Ministry and the Church

This video explains the importance of prison aftercare ministry in helping prisoners build constructive lives rather than continuing criminal activity when released from prison. Using the experience of the Prison Aftercare Ministry at St. James' Church, guidance is provided on how churches can organize their own prison aftercare ministry. The story is told  by inmates, ex-convicts, aftercare ministers, and corrections officials.

Total running time: 37 minutes

A 45 page booklet supplements the video, providing more detailed information to assist churches who wish to explore organizing a prison aftercare ministry in their church.

Video 2 - Dealing With Substance Abuse

This video is designed for the training of volunteers for work with incarcerated men and women and particularly with men and women who will face problems with addiction upon release from prison.

Part 1 - Introduction to Addiction 27:35
Part 2 - Causes of Addiction 25:55
Part 3 - Denial 20:52
Part 4 - Relapse and Steps to Recovery 33:40

Total running time: 1 hour 49 minutes

Video 3 - On Becoming a Good Listener

This video was prepared to help in the training of volunteers for working with men and women who are incarcerated and those recently released from prison. The video was prepared to help train volunteers for work with men and women who are incarcerated and those recently released from prison. The video describes listening skills that can (1) help create a relationship with the person being helped based on respect and trust, and (2) encourage the person being helped to discuss his or her problems openly and honestly.

Part 1 - Why Listening is Valuable 35:59
Part 2 - The Role of Feelings in Listening 32:40
Part 3 - Reflective Listening 23:50

Total running time: 1 hour 33 minutes

Video 4 - Listening: A Pathway to Good Relationships

This video has been prepared to teach listening skills that are valuable for improving personal relationships. it comes with a 25-page booklet containing the lecture outline and a list of additional reading on listening.

The video is in three parts to facilitate discussion of each part in classroom situations, as follows:

Part 1 - Introduction to Good Listening
Part 2 - The Importance of Recognizing Feelings in Listening
Part 3 - Reflective Listening 

Total running time: 1 hour 24 minutes

These videos can be ordered from St. James' Episcopal Church either singly or in a bundle. Print out our order form, fill it out and bring it or send it to the church office with your payment in the form of a check made out to St. James' Episcopal Church.

I heard the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for me? And I answered, "Here am I, Send me!"

Isaiah 6:8