The State Prison
So we left the church about 10 am and were at the Prison in Florence by 11 am. I've been to the County Jail in Phoenix many times to visit someone but I had never been inside a State Prison before. There were 12 of us and the Prison Chaplain was waiting for us. We checked in and went through a metal detector. You could not bring anything in with you at all. The sound equipment had to come in through another area and be checked over. It was very eerie walking through the Prison with steel gates and doors opening and then banging shut. But I will say this, it was a lot cleaner and neater than the County Jail.
We walked through several hallways and the male inmates were standing along the walls which I was told they are required to do when visitors are walking through. We were told not to make eye contact with them. But it was hard not to do with them just staring you down. Some looked really rough and mean, others not quite so. I did not really feel uncomfortable at all or unsafe and I really don't know why. Because the guard that was escorting us did not have a weapon or anything. I am sure he had something like mace and he did have a baton. But there were a lot of inmates that were not in cells. I guess it was the Holy Spirit that gave me the Peace and Comfort about it.
We ended up on the womens side and we held a Christmas Service for about 120 female inmates. We sang Christmas Carols and then a lady from our church, Marcia gave a brief talk about how God is always with us no matter what we have done. Another lady interpreted the talk in spanish. After the singing and the talk any inmates that wanted prayer were asked to come to the front and we were there to pray with and for them. The majority of the inmates were spanish speaking. There were way more inmates that wanted prayer than there were of us so we just prayed with them one on one and then went to the next person. I had a problem with that language barrier as I do not speak spanish but I still prayed for them and I am sure that God heard those prayers. One gal I prayed with looked very young. Her name was Lori and she spoke english. I asked her what I could pray with her about and she wanted to be able to see her son. I did not ask her why she was in there but I began to pray for Lori. I just prayed that God would give her Peace and Comfort in a bad situation and that she would be able to serve her time knowing that God will be with her through this and then I prayed that God would bless her son and keep him safe and that they would be reunited. She began to cry and weep and gave me a hug and cried on my shoulder for awhile. We were not allowed to really have any physical contact with them other than put our hands on there shoulder while we prayed with them. But she finally let go and said thank you to me. While they were going back to their pods I was standing by the door they were all going through to say God Bless You and Lori walked by and I told her that she will see her son. I just felt that God wanted me to tell her that and she smiled and said thank you to me again.
The entire time in the prison was 2 hours. I will definitely do it again. Afterwards we went to a great Mexican Food place and then headed back home. I got back around 5 pm. If you think about it during your prayers, please pray for these ladies. Especially pray for Lori that God will watch over and protect her and give her Peace and that her and her son will be reunited.
Peace and Blessings!