Prison clergyman 'serving on margins'

Reverend Mark JohnReverend Mark John takes adult a new purpose subsequent year

The Reverend Mark John, co-ordinating minister during Cardiff jail for 15 years, will take adult a new purpose subsequent year handling all chaplaincies in a open zone prisons of Wales. He talks to Selma Chalabi of a BBC’s Eye on Wales stream affairs programme about his work and what drives him.

Why do we do what we do?

“As a Christian we have always wanted to offer on a margins. Serving in prisons seemed an apparent approach to do that. One of a many fulfilling tools of a pursuit is honesty. Prisoners utterly mostly benefaction with honesty. Because a veneers that we put on ourselves are no longer there, we can see a need and apportion to it. When we was a vicar, that romantic probity wasn’t there. Who goes to a vicar and says I’m an alcoholic can we assistance me? Rarely. In prison, we can speak group plainly about their problems.

“Every morning we arise adult and consider that I’m doing something that I’m gentle with. I’m doing a best we can in an sourroundings that we love.”

You love?

“Yes, perversely. Prisons are horrible. Putting people in control is horrible. It’s society’s answer. If we ask me if jail works, we would contend no it doesn’t. But within that cesspit that we’ve combined there is a need. As a jail chaplain, I’m there to residence that need.

“If we were to come to we and say, I’m a murderer, what does God consider of me? What would we say?

A restrained in jailReverend Mark John pronounced he had worked with many murderers during his time as a jail chaplain

“I would contend you’re not over God. They were brigands who were crucified subsequent to Jesus Christ. They were cursed men. we would contend to you, he loves you, and we will be there.

“During my jail method we have worked with many murderers. I’ve worked with some who’ve come to a Christian faith and to a devout realisation. Only a really few cold people can be murderers and feel no remorse. The infancy have a clarity of distress and guilt. As a jail service, we are always looking in to their opinion towards their offence. we wish to know their opinion and what strategies they have in place to stop them from doing it again.”

Who are we consecrated by – God or a state?

“I really trust that my goal comes from God. God called me to be a priest, and afterwards God called me to be a jail chaplain. With that goal to ministry, a management comes from a bishop of this diocese.

“I’m also paid for by a state. There’s an act of council that says that each jail contingency have a chaplain, so a state indeed empowers it. In fact a act says each jail contingency have a governor, a minister and other such staff.

“That’s one of a things we like about a state. There’s a balance. There’s an acceptance that a state has a right to punish, though there’s an acceptance that a state has a right to maintain and care.”

Cardiff prisonHMP Cardiff has a ability for some-more than 780 masculine prisoners

What would we contend to people who contend that jail is a place of punishment, and punishment alone?

“As distant as I’m aware, in law, jail has been tangible as a punishment. You are in custody. Your autocracy is curtailed. That is a punishment. Anything after that is vicious and inhumane.

“Our society, a on-going western society, has pronounced that we keep people who don’t heed to a norms of multitude in a place of confidence to keep multitude protected from them. That is a punishment.

“The punishment afterwards comes home when their daughter dies and they can’t go and comfort their wife, when their silent dies and they can’t leave a jail since that’s not allowed. That’s a punishment.”

What is your group finished adult of?

“When we initial started work in prisons, a notice was that jail chaplaincy was mostly a Christian ministry.

“It’s now turn an all faith ministry. We have 20 chaplains of opposite denominations. 3.5 are entirely paid chaplains. Some are sub-contracted or sessional chaplains, and a whole accumulation of others.

“We support for a categorical Christian faiths. We have Muslim chaplains, Buddhist chaplains, a non-believer chaplain, Jewish, Sikh chaplains, Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon. Basically if a restrained comes in and says we have a certain faith, it is my pursuit to safeguard that we have a apportion of that faith for them.”

Are we value a open income that pays for you?

“I could indicate to we 4 or 5 people that as a approach outcome of something I’ve finished or pronounced are no longer in a rapist probity system.

“We are told that to keep a restrained in Cardiff costs £30,000 or £40,000 a year, and to put them by a whole routine can cost hundreds of thousands. So indeed if I’ve got 4 that I’ve sorted out, that’s paid my salary for my career. So is it value it? Value for money? Yes. Hopefully it’s a bit some-more than that.”

Eye On Wales: Saving Souls is on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday 15 Jul 2012 during 13:00 BST