Monday, July 25, 2011

Should your donation to prison ministry provide a Koran or a Wiccan Book of Shadows?

Wiccan Book of Shadows
 Islamic Koran

If you found that your donation to a Christian prison ministry was being used to provide literature requested by inmates of other religions, would you consider that an affront to your own faith? Do you feel a responsibility to know how your contributions are being spent?  These are good questions to ask of any mission you support.

Giving to Hope Aglow provides a Holy Bible, NKJV. We do not, nor will we ever, give out literature that stands in opposition to our statement of beliefs.

Hope Aglow Ministries stands by the inerrancy of the Bible and it's message of  the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life with God in heaven. Moreover, we believe there is no other way by which men may be saved but by belief in Jesus Christ.

If you donate to Hope Aglow Ministries, you are giving to support men and women who stand firm on these principles, preach and teach them in the jails and prisons, and provide a Bible to all who ask.

 Basic Bible Doctrine Study course and test booklet

We provide a Basic Bible Doctrine Study Course, based on our statement of beliefs which was first published in 1971, by our founders Ed and Alfreda Martin.

  All Hope Aglow volunteers see themselves as missionaries in the white field of jails and prisons. We feel called to preach the good news those held captive there. We understand that our system of government, while imperfect is the best one we have. We understand there are deficiencies in the criminal justice system that need to be corrected. However, our first calling is to the gospel and to the Bible, not to political correctness.

This is where we stand.


Inmates sharing at Bible study in Powhatan prison

Please give to support the ministry of the gospel in jails and prisons.
You may  donate by mail at Hope Aglow P.O.Box 10157 Lynchburg, VA 24506
Thanks! All donations are tax deductible.

We are registered with
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
440 West Jubal Early Drive, Suite 130 • Winchester, VA 22601
Telephone: 800-323-9473 • Fax: 540-535-0533 • Website: • Email:
Hope Aglow Ministries, Inc. is a registered 503(c) organization.
A financial statement is available from the State Div. of Consumer Affairs, upon request.
Div. of Consumer Affairs P.O. Box 1163 Richmond, VA 23209

Friday, July 22, 2011

Need versus Reality - What are you called to do?

The Reality


Number of Federal Penitentiaries -2
Number of inmates -5091                             

Number of State Prisons- 32
Number of Inmates- 31,427

Number of Jails- 28 Regional
                                39 Local
                                  2 Jail Farms
                                Total= 69 Jails

Number of Inmates in Jails- 32,336

Average cost per day per inmate- @ $65.00

Virginia is number 2 in the nation in spending on jail and prison operations per inmate. This figure does not include building and renovating prisons and jails.

I tell you these figures so you will be aware of the needs. Crime is expensive for us, and it's not getting any less expensive to house the ever growing number of inmates, build facilities, pay law enforcement salaries and court costs. It's no surprise that this is happening. We are promised that times will wax worse and worse until the end. My point is this- we have a God given responsibility to attend to this mission field.

Our Call

"The services of volunteers are an indispensable resource for our criminal justice system. The vast majority of incarcerated offenders will eventually re-enter the community upon the completion of their sentences. Crime and delinquency are tremendous burdens on the community - both in the costs related to law enforcement and corrections, and in terms of human suffering. By supplementing the work of Department of Corrections employees, volunteers help to stretch our tax dollars. Each year, volunteers donate more than one million dollars worth of their valuable time to the Department - hours that otherwise might be paid for by taxpayers."
and a word from our higher power-

Hebrews 13:3
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Please donate to the ministry of Hope Aglow. We believe the best way to address crime prevention is changed hearts.
Hope Aglow Ministries
P.O. Box 10157
Lynchburg, VA 24506

Hope Aglow Ministries, Inc. is a registered 503(c) organization. A financial statement is available from the State Div. of Consumer Affairs, upon request.
Div. of Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 1163 Richmond, VA 23209

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lynchburg, VA Lawyer Frees Man from Death Row

Lynchburg, VA - Lawyers call it an extraordinarily rare legal event. A man charged with capital murder, tried in 2003, and sentenced to death is now out of prison.
Cory Maye is a free man in Mississippi, but that would not have been possible without lots of work from a Lynchburg lawyer.

When Attorney Abram Pafford was working in D.C., he read about this case online in 2005. Ever since, he's worked to set Cory Maye free.
"Very few defendants who are convicted of capital murder, sentenced to death, spend time on death row, and then live to breathe free air," said Pafford.
Cory Maye is one of the few. But, it's been a long journey.

Pafford, lawyer
It all started in 2001. Cory Maye and his 14-month-old daughter were sound asleep when, according to Maye's lead lawyer, police - search warrant in hand and looking for drugs - kicked in his rear door.
"And as the rear door was kicked in, and someone charged in to the bedroom in the dark, he squeezed off three shots. At which point he heard them shouting 'police, police,'" said Pafford.
It was too late. Maye had shot and killed a police officer with a small handgun.
Maye said he had no idea they were police and was defending himself and his child. The state of Mississippi said Maye knew they were police and fired anyway. They threw the book at him for capital murder.

But, Attorney Abram Pafford found Maye's case.
"I'll never forget when I first read about the case," said Pafford.
Pafford saw many holes in the state's case and took it to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Maye, Pafford says, had no motive to shoot a police officer, had no criminal record, and was just defending himself and his child

"It just struck me that this was a situation where the father was trying to protect his little girl, but was sitting on death row as a result of it," said Pafford.
Not any more. Now that a Lynchburg lawyer gave a Mississippi inmate a second chance at life.

Cory Maye

"A day or two ago, he got to see his first sunrise in five years without viewing it through prison bars," said Pafford.

Cory Maye wrapped up his case with a plea agreement. So, he's a free man, but forever a convicted criminal.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Resources for pre-release and newly released inmates in Virginia
Virginia CARES operates a statewide network of ex-offender reentry programs to provide transitional assistance, financial aid, job readiness training, temporary employment, job search and career development, human relations & self-awareness training, and ongoing support services to prisoners, ex-offenders, and their families in Virginia.

Other resources-

I. Virginia Employment Commission
Virginia Employment Commission
703 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
804-731-0616 fax
Web Site:
Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.
A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.
B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.
Virginia Employment Commission
Gateway Building
P.O. Box 1358
Richmond, VA 23218
804-786-2887 or 804-786-4468
804-786-6091 fax
Web Site:
C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.
Applications for unemployment insurance benefits require reporting in person to the nearest office of the Virginia Employment Commission to complete an application, speak with an interviewer, and receive monetary determination. Applications can also be filed via the internet at the web site listed below.
Virginia Employment Commission
703 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Web Site:
II. Criminal Record Repository
This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.
Requests for criminal record searches in Virginia must be made by submitting a "Criminal Record Name Search" form SP-167. The instructions for the completion of this form are noted on the reverse side of the document. This form can be viewed, downloaded and/or printed by visiting the Virginia State Police Forms web site. A $13 fee must accompany each request.
Virginia State Police
Records Management Division
P.O. Box 27472
Richmond, VA 23261
Web Site:
III. State Attorney General
Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.
Office of the Attorney General
900 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
804-786-1991 fax
Web Site:
IV. State Department of Corrections
Prison Industry Program
Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) produces quality products and services and furnishes work for prison inmates. Products manufactured include office furniture, metal storage equipment, dorm furniture, and apparel. Services offered include printing and institutional laundry.
Virginia Correctional Enterprises
8030 White Bark Terrace
Richmond, VA 23237
804-743-4100 (Central VA) or 800-823-2823
804-743-2210 fax
Web Site:
Work Release Program
The Virginia Department of Corrections offers a work release program for prisoners who are nearing completion of their sentences and who meet specific eligibility criteria. The primary goal is to provide work opportunities in a location close to where inmates will be released. Eligible inmates are placed into local jail work release programs. To be eligible, inmates must be at security level one, have a good time earning level of one, have non-violent crime convictions, and be within 12 months of their good time release date or within three years of their mandatory parole release date.
Virginia Department of Corrections
6900 Atmore Dr.
Richmond, VA 23225
Web Site:
Pre-Release Program
During the year prior to an inmate’s release from prison, a 19-session life skills program is made available which addresses information inmates need to live in the community. Topics include finding and keeping a job, locating a residence, budgeting and family responsibilities. Participation is not mandatory.
Virginia Department of Corrections
6900 Atmore Dr.
Richmond, VA 23225
Web Site:
V. Virginia Department of Corrections
Community Corrections
Probation and Parole supervision is operated through the Community Corrections Division of the Virginia Department of Corrections. Supervision is provided through 42 district offices, 12 state-operated facilities, 10 day reporting centers, and oversight for 10 privately contracted adult residential centers. Day reporting centers provide intensive substance abuse treatment, aftercare/relapse prevention counseling, AA/NA groups, GED/ABE and life skills classes, job referrals, and vocational services. Other services such as parenting skills are provided based on client needs. Adult Residential Programs (ARP) are used by the Parole Board as a condition of parole and by Probation and Parole officers as an intermediate sanction. Offenders receive supervised housing, random urinalysis testing, life skills, and basic counseling.
Community Corrections
Virginia Department of Corrections
6900 Atmore Dr.
Richmond, VA 23225
Web Site:
VI. Legal Assistance
Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.
A. State Public Defender
Public Defender Commission
701 East Franklin St., Suite 1416
Richmond, VA 23219
804-371-8326 fax
B. Legal Services

The Legal Services Corporation of Virginia and the Virginia Poverty Law Center publish a directory of all legal services available to low-income Virginians. The directory is available upon request from the Virginia Poverty Law Center or at the following web site:
Legal Services Corporation of Virginia
700 East Main St., Suite 1504
Richmond, VA 23219
Virginia Poverty Law Center
201 West Broad St., Suite 302
Richmond, VA 23220
C. State Bar Association

Virginia Bar Association
701 E. Franklin St., Suite 1120
Richmond, VA 23219
804-644-0052 fax
Web Site:
VII. Local Service Providers
Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.
Career Connect
The One-Stop Career Centers in Virginia are known as Career Connect. Services available to job seekers include job referral and placement, referrals for training, and job search, skill-building activities. A wide variety of self-help, computer assisted, as well as printed and video career guidance materials are available. Computers are available to allow easy access to Internet services.
Virginia Employment Commission
703 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Web Site:
TAP Virginia CARES (Community Action Re-entry System)
TAP Virginia CARES (Community Action Re-entry System) program facilitates the return of people with criminal records to their communities and society. They provide basic needs assessments and support services, including employment counseling, assistance with job leads, transportation, resume and application assistance, peer support groups, civil rights restoration assistance, and referrals to appropriate agencies to people with criminal records and their families. Mondays Orientation at 1 pm.
141 Campbell Ave. SW
TAP Room 147
108 Henry St NW, 3rd Fl.
Roanoke, VA 24016
540-342-9427 fax
Web Site:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What does the Bible say about prisoners?

Psalm 69:33 ESV

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

Matthew 25:35-46 ESV

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ ...

Psalm 102:20 ESV

To hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,

Isaiah 61:1 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Psalm 79:11 ESV

Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!

Acts 16:25 ESV 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

Luke 4:18 ESV

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

Psalm 146:7 ESV

Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;

Friday, July 1, 2011

Prison overcrowding deemed "cruel and unusual punishment"

The California prison system is so crowded that 16,000 inmates, are assigned cots in hallways and gyms.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that California’s prisons are so overstressed, they are unconstitutionally holding prisoners without providing appropriate medical and mental health care.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Brown v. Plata, notes that, “As many as 54 prisoners may share a single toilet.” And suicides average one a week, he says. The Court also cited a lower court’s finding that an inmate dies unnecessarily every six to seven days. This is very disturbing. Even one of the dissenting votes, Justice Samuel Alito, acknowledged “particular prisoners received shockingly deficient medical care,” though he ended up opposing the Court’s final decision.

When the government takes someone into its custody, it also takes on the responsibility of providing medical care. To deprive inmates of adequate medical care is indeed “cruel and unusual punishment,” in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. It means that a prisoner serving just months for a low-level crime might die from lack of proper medical attention, turning a short sentence into a sentence of death.

Whether or not the courts are the appropriate place to establish prison policy, it is undeniable that the political system in California has failed in its responsibility to manage prisons. One of the original lawsuits complaining of unconstitutional conditions was filed 21 years ago! And the legislature and a succession of governors did nothing to address the appalling conditions in California’s prisons for all those years.

These conditions are not the fault of prison officials. They don’t choose who to hold in prison. They take the prisoners sentenced under state law, and try to house them as best as possible with the dollars given them in the budget. The fault lies at the feet of politicians who have tried to have it both ways—adding years to sentences to appear tough on crime, but not appropriating the money needed to build prisons to hold the extra prisoners those policies have locked up.

However, laying blame doesn’t help. We now have to find ways to help the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDRC) comply with the Court’s order without putting the public at risk. No one wants the state to release inmates who are unprepared to abide by the law when they are released. The problem is that California and most other states do not have the money to do this pre-release preparation.

Fortunately, faith-based and community groups have been stepping up to do this work at no cost to the government!

Pat Nolan
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