Alone With 18 Male Prisoners

A memorable experience from my years doing jail ministry:

When it comes to incarcerated adults, I believe women should mentor women and men should mentor men. One day that changed for me. The chaplain was short of male facilitators and needed me in the men’s unit.

I told him I’d be uncomfortable and would rather not.  He explained the deputies would be right outside and would keep an eye on me through the window in the door.  As long as I sit next to the red emergency button on the wall, I should have no problem.

Breathing a prayer, I fearfully entered the tiny room where 18 men were already seated.  I took the only chair available, in the back of the room.  Once seated I noticed the red emergency button was on the opposite side of the room!

Rather than panic, I decided to act tough and fearless. I lowered my voice and tried to speak with authority. I asked a few questions and as they responded I studied their faces.   Why, they were simply needy men who were seeking God!

It was going well until one man became angry and wanted to argue! The other men were ready to pounce on him to protect me.  I felt safe and grateful.  Sure enough, the deputies were watching. Within seconds the door opened and two deputies physically removed the troublemaker. The rest of our time was sweet and precious.

That was the first of many opportunities to minister to men who simply wanted to know God’s love and forgiveness. Once they were willing to turn from their sin and surrender their lives to Jesus, they would experience peace and joy. As I continued to meet with them for weeks—and some for months, I could see the transformation was lasting. What a privilege!

  • The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you.    Psalm 110:5a  NLT
  • This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.    1 Timothy 2:3-4

Addendum:  Our local jail rules have since changed:   Men may only mentor men. Women may only mentor women.  This is good!

  • [This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:  and

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About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences. NOTE: My stories have been altered, removing any and all identifying factors. This includes names and other particulars in order to protect confidentiality and anonymity.
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6 Responses to Alone With 18 Male Prisoners

  1. Linda Simson says:

    Wow! You are so brave! I am sure that these men saw Jesus through your boldness and compassion!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Linda, but I didn’t think of myself as brave. It was more about trusting God each step of the way. Do I think those men saw Jesus in me? That is always my prayer.

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