Can the Church be instrumental in reducing crime statistics for the Greenwich borough?
I believe we can if we try!

On our doorstep we have:
HMP Belmarsh Prison - a Cat A male prison with approx 900 inmates.
HMP Isis - a Cat C Young Offenders Institution with over 600 inmates.
HMP Thameside - a Cat B Male prison for over 1200 inmates.
To add to that, at any one time, the borough has approx 800 people on probation.

Abbey Wood, Blackheath, Charlton, Coldharbour, Eltham, Kidbrooke, Mottingham, New Eltham, Plumstead, Shooters Hill, Thamesmead, Woolwich.

"I was in prison and you did not visit me" Bishop of Kensington

In 'Tackling drugs to build a better Britain' it was reported that 70,000 offences were committed by 664 people in the space of 3 months. Drug related crime costs the criminal justice system at least £1b per year.

  • There were over 113 thousand motor vehicle thefts in England and Wales in 2019/20.
  • In the UK, burglary is one of the most common crimes committed, with one happening nearly every 120 seconds.
  • The government estimated that the annual social and economic cost of serious and organised crime was £37 billion in 2015-16.
  • A total of 5.7 million crimes were reported to police in England and Wales, year ending March 2020.

The 2021 prison population is currently over 78,000. That's 78% more then the prison population was 10 years ago.

There are approx. 10,000 young inmates in prison (under 21) - half the prison population are under 24. Of those released, 75% re-offend, 53% re-offend within 2 years of release. Crime has increased 500% since 1960.

There are 6450 thefts every day (5 every minute), 142 drug related offences every hour, a motoring offence every 3 seconds, 5 sex offences every hour.

  • 95% of crime is committed by males.
  • 19% of 16-24 year old's will have used drugs this month.
  • 6.7% male, 1.3% female aged 16-24 commit a crime.

It costs approx. £44,640 to keep a person in prison per year. With the combined population of HMP Belmarsh, HPM Isis, HMP Thameside we could be looking at a running cost in excess of £120,000,000 per year.

Statistics from the 'Social Exclusion Unit Report' show that while in prison :
  • A third of inmates will loose their home
  • Two thirds will loose their job
  • Two fifths will loose contact with their family.

In London, street crime is up 33%, from 26,715 incidents to 35,572. There has been a nationwide increase in muggings of more then 26% in the past 9 months.

There are on average 2 gun related incidents every day.

Did you know that there are 3000 children in prison in the UK? Even sadder news is that 31 have died in prison in the past 4 years. These children can also be subject to Solitary Confinement - 4,500 have been in the past 2 years. The picture is gloomy mainly due to the child protection act stopping at the prison gates - but that has just changed. This will now be extended to protect children in prison. 3000 children in prison sounds like a small number but they represent only 4% of those taken to court.

As for crime in the Greenwich borough :
  • Average of 70 street crimes per month
  • 233 burglaries per month
  • 82 racial incidents per month
  • 5 homophobic incidents per month
  • 336 domestic violence incidents per month
  • 7 rape offences per month
  • 587 vehicle crimes per month

The local paper, 'The News Shopper', reported on Jan 23 2002, that "A raid on a flat in Abbey Wood uncovered an astonishing £11m haul of heroin .... The borough recorded 247 cases (possession and PWI) taken to court, compared with second place Westminister's tally of 147."

But on the bright side - Everyday inmates are making some form of commitment to Christianity. The 'Alpha course', which is an introduction to Christianity, is currently being run in 80% of prisons in the UK. 21,000 inmates have now completed the Alpha course in the UK. Prison Alpha is run in 40 countries around the world - its run in 48 of South Africa's prisons.

Another favourable point to note is that the prison Govnors have now been tasked to increase the number of inmates put into work upon release (Custody to work strategy).

 

"I came out of prison and you did not welcome me back" Bishop of Kensington

Prison ministry, bridge-building Christians from prison into local Churches, aftercare for ex-offenders are areas of work that you may like to get involved with.
Pray about it!

Prison Fellowship is an international organisation dedicated to Christian ministry within prisons. They provide comprehensive training to Christians that want to be involved in Prison ministry.

The next step for Greenwich Church is to welcome these people into our Church. Easier said then done - but with the help of Prison Fellowship and Holy Trinity Brompton, and the Churches desire to open its doors we can do it!

 

Finding the offices when leaving prison
Helping a leaving prisoner is a ministry in itself. One way to help is to give them the addresses of the offices that they will need to visit incase they dont know them.
Bridging the Gap will help you get all ball rolling - all you need to know is the ex-offenders postcode.

Need a Prisons address?
If you are looking for the address and phone number for a prison in England & Wales, then look no further.
Bridging the Gap can assist you with that. All you need to know is the prison name which you can 'Search' for on the gov.uk website.

Need to know the name of your MP?
If you are looking for the name of a Member of Parliment for a particular constituency, then why not try the House of Commons web site. You will need to know the name of the constituency!! If you want to write to them, send your letter to :
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Don't forget to write the MP's name on the envelope! Very important!

 

Useful websites

 

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