** Paul and Ann Gill will be in Perth again in August to October 2017 **
Paul Gill, a chaplain in WA prisons for over 10 years, had written a book about his experiences but he wasn’t quite sure why.
Then in a dream came this message, “This is a good thing you are doing. You are giving a voice to the most disadvantaged in society – prisoners.”
This attractively colourful edition shines a light not only into the depths of prison life but into the innermost thoughts and feelings of its inmates. A powerful account, occasionally confronting yet laced with humour and pathos.
Find it at these book stores:
St John’s Bookshop (Fremantle), Fremantle Prison Gift Shop, State Library bookshop (Perth), St Georges Cathedral Bookshop (Perth), The Subiaco Bookshop, Crow Books (East Victoria Park)
Book Review : Prisoners’ Lives Revealed
Opening the Doors
A Prison Chaplain’s Life on the Inside
by Paul Gill.
Published by Make Your Mark Publications
Review: Barbara Davidson
Why do some people end up in prison? What happens when they get to prison? Is rehabilitation a realistic expectation?
Paul Gill, a prison chaplain in W.A. prisons for over 10 years and with chaplain experience elsewhere, gives a voice to those who face the challenges of prison after their conviction. He accepts that perpetrators of crimes must be punished and the community protected, but despairs at the lack of opportunities for rehabilitation because of overcrowding.
Paul has a deep Christian faith and this underpins his humanity and compassion for his fellow man. He says, “No-one is ever too far gone for change to be impossible.” He emphasises that chaplains working alongside prisoners need to demonstrate a strong faith and be there for the long haul. It takes time to build up trusting relationships with people who have often been abused or exploited and are understandably wary and often angry.
Gill’s book ranges widely over topics such as drugs and alcohol, indigenous prisoners, families of prisoners, mental illness, loss of identity and the reasons for recidivism. He includes stories and poetry from prisoners and their voices come through strongly in the pages. As he deals with the prisoners’ problems and anguish, Gill’s own poems and prayers illuminate the text.
In Australia, it costs more than $100,000 a year to keep a person in prison and Gill is convinced that we will only get on top of crime by addressing the issues of mental health, poverty and the illegal drug trade. Over the years, Gill has had extensive contact with victims of crime including bringing together groups of offenders and victims to ‘tell their stories’. These gatherings enabled offenders to realize the effect their crimes have on victims and victims to realize that offenders were human beings who could change.
Paul Gill provides deep insights into ‘life on the inside’. The book is often dark and challenging but it also provides practical suggestions and hope for the future. Gill has ‘walked the walk’ and now has been persuaded to ‘talk the talk’ to provide an insight for those involved with prison work or working with prisoners’ families. We can all gain a better understanding of the lives of those who have committed crimes against society.
The creative format of the book makes it reader friendly and it can readily be dipped into or used as a reference. No one can remain unmoved by the voices within these pages sharing their hopes and despair.
For more information contact Gary Davidson, Prison Ministry Coordinator at St Philips on 9335 5701.