the severest sanction any state can impose on its citizens, other than capital
punishment. Deriving from the word 'prise' or 'seize', imprisonment is the exercise
of coercive power. As such, the incarceration of any human being, even in apparently
reasonable conditions, is a cause of constant concern. This is why statutory
provision should always be made for independent inspection of conditions of imprisonment
and treatment of prisoners. But that provision is not
enough. There is still need for continuous interest and
inquiry into moral, philosophical and theological issues raised by imprisonment,
especially for those working with prisoners. Justice Reflections
attempts to explore these issues for chaplains of all faiths whose ministry is
Reflections began in 2001 under the aegis of the International Prison Chaplains'
Association to nurture and encourage prison chaplains everywhere. Three editions
are published annually, each containing eight varied essays in English from around
the world. The publication is ecumenical and open to the views of all faiths.
It explores and challenges the relevance of theology to matters of justice in
the domain of law and order.
aims to reveal, cumulatively, how theological insights from different cultures
can help everyone reflect more hopefully on challenging human experiences. The
objectivity of prison chaplains' thinking about human nature, as revealed in the
confines of prison, assists standing back and understanding better how humanity
has come to where it is and how it might progress. The publication also aims to
stimulate anyone in prison ministry to think more about the context of their work.
Criminal justice activity can be secluded and mentally confining. Prison work
in particular tends to be introspective and narrowly self-interested. Theological
thinking, of the sort communicated in this publication, can help overcome the
physical and psychological isolation of prison.
Reflections responds to the need for theological development among colleagues
connected with victims and offenders in parts of the world where working conditions
in prisons can sometimes be utterly brutalising. Colleagues surviving in such
circumstances can, for their part, share more widely through this publication
important insights from their situation. It is a resource for training and a focus
for exploring new ideas, including what is inspirational in current work among
victims and offenders. It sets out to help everyone working in law and order embrace
tensions in the face of widespread pessimism and cynicism.
Reflections Reflections is unique. Interest in it extends beyond prison
chaplains, its primary readership, to people who have an outsider's interest in
its aims. Copies are sent to over sixty countries. During its existence, a repository
of thinking and writing has been assembled in one concentrated and expanding archive
accessible on its website - www.justicereflections.org.uk
Reflections is assembled in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral in the Diocese
of Lincoln where there has been a long tradition from the early Middle Ages of
caring for the disadvantaged. This tradition extends from the episcopate of St.
Hugh (1186-1200), renowned for championing stigmatized lepers, through the episcopate
of Bishop Edward King (1885-1910), revered for his ministry to prisoners facing
execution, to the episcopate of Bishop Robert Hardy (1987-2001), who hosted four
large Lincoln Conferences on law and order. Whilst local tradition has influenced
the ethos of the publication, its contemporary relevance is global.
Reflections is promoted by the Worldwide International Prison Chaplains'
Association in conjunction with the International Commission for Catholic Prison
Pastoral Care and Prison Fellowship International. There is no charge for the
publication but donations are invited for the charity to help cover production
and distribution costs.