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New Life Prison Ministry
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By Mike Toth



Matthew 25: 35-36: For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

Matthew 25: 40: The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’


New Life Prison Ministry (NLPM) has been reaching out to those involved in the justice system and supporting chaplains throughout Canada for over thirty years. NLPM provides Christian DVD’s and videos, and bible based courses to facilities all over the country. The statistics are impressive: 10,917 studies completed and returned (25% of all sent out) from 94 facilities and 77 men and women coming to Christ through the studies last year alone. Raw statistics don’t actually paint the proper picture.

The real story is in the personal relationships New Life develops with prisoners and with chaplains. The heart of the ministry is the volunteer bible study pen pals who grade every study and correspond with each student. Being involved at such an intimate level takes time, and requires a lot of volunteers who have lived experience and are able to handle scripture. Current administrative director Rosemary Redshaw has 27 years experience as a prison chaplain prior to joining New Life, and has seen quite a shift in the prison population those volunteers are reaching.

“The population is getting younger overall, with more and more women entering the system,” says Redshaw. “There is also a huge change in the number of mentally ill. It used to be that 1 in 10 prisoners were suffering from mental illness, now we’re seeing 1 in 4.”


Photo Credit: Waterloo Region Record
The changes in demographic has led New Life to change with the times as well. While continuing to use some of the traditional evangelistic curriculum New Life has recently been commissioning its own material featuring Bible based topical courses on subjects like anger, abuse, healthy relationships, etc.

The innovation doesn’t stop with the content of curricula; it includes the form of curricula as well. Traditionally courses were mailed out with a subsequently high cost of postage for correspondence. The “ARC” is an exciting tool that promises to not only lower the cost of ministry, but exponentially increase the amount of Christian material getting into the hands of prisoners all over the country.

The “Audio Recordings for Christ (ARC)” is a small solar powered listening device that requires no external power supply, can be used with ear buds for privacy, and holds 8 GB of material. That equates to 240 hours of music, curricula, and books. The unit is affordable as well, as New Life is able to purchase them for a reduced rate of $15 per ARC from Galcom International.

While the correspondence with a volunteer/mentor can mean life to a prisoner, what transpires upon the release of a man or woman from jail is no less important. Many walk out of prison alone, with few supportive relationships, fewer employment prospects, and heavy restrictions put on them by the courts. To counter these issues New Life has an after care program to provide support and relationship to ease the loneliness that many feel upon release.

We serve a God who did not give up on us though our sins condemned us. A prison sentence is not the end of the road for a man or woman, as God has not given up on them either. Please consider donating to New Life Prison Ministries and/or volunteering to become a bible pen pal with an incarcerated man or woman today. You can reach New Life at info@nlpm.ca. If you are soon to be released from prison, recently released from prison, or would like information about the aftercare of prisoners, please contact Tim at aftercare@nlpm.ca.