It is vital for successful reentry into society that returning citizens are embraced by those closest to them, by their family, the community and especially by local churches that collectively form the Body of Christ. A comprehensive and multi-faceted approach is necessary and essential to help the returning citizen become a healthy and productive member of their family, their community, their country and the Kingdom of God.
Below is a collection of resources that the returning citizen and their support teams can explore to help solve the problems they encounter after release back into society.
1. Visit the Books We Recommend-page of this website
2. Books by Lennie Spitale, a former inmate and chaplain highly experienced in prison ministry/reentry efforts and a member of the Chester County Prison Advisory Work Group:
2.1 “Help! My Loved One is in Jail! What Do I Do Now?” by Lennie Spitale
Written for those who are experiencing the incarceration of a loved one, this booklet walks individuals and families through the typical experiences associated with this traumatic event. Many family members and friends are often unfamiliar with the turbulent sea into which they suddenly finds themselves plunged – and panic can quickly follow. This booklet acts as a written guide to highlight the various emotional responses, legal proceedings and actions needed for thoughtful consideration as one embarks upon this painful journey.
Paperback: 63 pages
Publisher: EMIS, 2007
2.2 “Sentenced – Now What? Relationships during Incarceration” by Lennie Spitale
This booklet is designed to help individuals and families with the second phase of the incarceration journey – sentencing and what follows. Unlike “Help! My Loved One is in Jail. What Do I Do Now?”, which speaks of legal issues, this booklet acts as a roadmap to answer their questions. Most importantly, however, this booklet will help family and friends protect and build the relationships they have with their loved ones while in prison.
Paperback: 61 pages
Publisher: EMIS, 2007
2.3 “Coming Home! A guide for Those Receiving a Loved One Back From Prison or Jail” by Lennie Spitale and Karen Swanson
Your loved one is returning from prison! For most people, this is a time of great joy, a long-awaited fulfillment of a dream. But mingled with the joyous feelings of anticipation, many also experience lingering fears and uncertainties about what will happen next. Your loved one may also be plagued with concerns. Coming Home will be your travel guide as you and your loved one navigate this unchartered territory. You will find basic guidelines to assist you and your loved one in making the transition from prison to home.
Paperback: 110 pages
Publisher: EMIS, 2010
3. Answering The Call – To Stimulate and Train Christ-followers toward focused Lives of Witness and Discipleship” by Karen Swanson
The Institute for Prison Ministries at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College has created Answering the Call to equip those who are incarcerated to live focused lives of witness and discipleship within their spheres of influence.
This workbook is used during a four hour seminar to develop relationships and communicate the gospel naturally, with gentleness and respect, and to disciple others toward maturity in Christ.
Paperback: 78 pages
Publisher: Institute for Prison Ministries, 2011
4. “Help My Child’s Been Arrested! A Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Juvenile Justice System” by Scott Larson and John Kinsley
“This booklet has an abundance of of valuable counsel that will help parents and friends navigate this experience with both wisdom and practical advice” – Lennie Spitale, author of several books relating to prison ministry and member of the Chester County Prison Chaplaincy Advisory Work Group.
Paperback: 71 pages
Publisher: Institute for Prison Ministries, 2008
1. Institute for Prison Ministries at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL:
1. Download the most recent Chester County Community Resource Guide (July 2013).