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A prisoner cleaning the floor of Luzira Prison, Uganda.

From: Prisons – Footsteps 104

Practical tips for getting involved in prison ministry and caring for ex-offenders

When someone goes to prison, the whole family suffers. Family care is an important part of the ministry of Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS). We support about 70 families of inmates through the programmes below.

Support groups. When a loved one is imprisoned, the spouse tends to suffer greatly. Wives and mothers often isolate themselves because of a sense of shame. Support groups offer a safe place for them to express their feelings without feeling judged. They also provide a platform for social activities and group counselling sessions.

Home visits. The Family Care team and volunteers regularly visit prisoners’ families to offer friendship, comfort and counselling. Visits are especially helpful if family members are ill or bed-bound.

Employment, vocational training and financial assistance. PFS helps inmates’ families to find jobs by providing training in language skills, computing and crafts. We also provide short-term financial aid to families needing urgent help.

Referrals to family service centres, counselling providers and the faith community. PFS partners with various organisations to provide professional counselling and social work services. While doing this we maintain friendships with the families, with a view to helping inmates rejoin their families after release.

Parents’ ministry. The parents of prisoners often become the caregivers for their grandchildren. For the parents of inmates, PFS provides emotional, medical and other practical assistance. 

Support for children of prisoners. Prisoners’ children often experience isolation, shame and poverty. They may suffer from a lack of attention from their caregivers, who are often struggling to cope themselves. Care Club is a weekly club for the children of prisoners. We organise activities such as tuition classes, reading, music, art and dance on Saturdays with the help of volunteers. Care Club also organises outings and camps to provide fun-filled activities for inmates’ children during school holidays. 

Discussion question

By staff at Prison Fellowship Singapore.


Caring for a prisoner’s child 

The imprisonment of a loved one can be overwhelming for both children and caregivers. If you are caring for a prisoner’s child, below are some simple ways you can help her through tough moments. 

Adapted from the Sesame Street toolkit, Little children, big challenges: incarceration.

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