Beyond Bars. Looking inside the inside story

Gernard Chrispin

Precious Seed

Paperback, 140pp. Published by Day One Publications, Ryelands Road, Leominster HR6 8NZ, UK Price £7, ISBN 978-1-846250-94-1

GERARD CHRISPIN, director of DAYLIGHT Christian Prison Trust, writes a telling account of individuals whose lives have been changed by the saving grace of God. Different prisoners with different stories are presented as records of what God can do in transforming the most wretched of lives. But if we think that it is only a record of present day villains and crime, the writer skilfully weaves in comparisons from the scriptures.

I am not sure I would have immediately recognized ‘Manny’, ‘Joe’, ‘Sony’, or ‘Evil Paterson’ but the passages of the word of God speak for themselves. The parallels with Tommy, Sam, or Peggy enable us to see the ‘inside’ and appreciate something of the reality of those serving long sentences, or those guilty of crimes which even time finds difficult to eradicate from the mind. Similarly, in his chapter ‘Don’t forget the “screws”’, CHRISPIN reminds us of ‘Mr Philips’ who became suicidal when he thought there had been a mass escape from his prison.

This is a fascinating book which, in the last two chapters particularly but also throughout, gives a real insight into the work of its author and, quite possibly, many others who work in a similar way. This is a book that should open our hearts to those inside, draw out our compassion for the lost, whoever they may be, and deepen our appreciation of the amazing grace of God ‘that saved a wretch like me’.