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An Inside Job: True Confessions Of A Prison Chaplain - Shaken Not Stirred

124 pages1 hour


The final eleven years of my working life I served as an Anglican Prison Chaplain in several men's prisons in Victoria, Australia. In the years since retiring I wrote this book about my experiences in that role. Beginning with how I found myself in such a challenging ministry, among the topics covered are such things as my own initial nervousness and apprehensions, the risks involved, the prison environment and prison security prison security. Then there are the prisoners themselves, what they are like and in some cases how they became to be locked up. A senior Chaplain gave me wise counsel when he encouraged me to keep in mind that “There is always a story behind the story.” And finally, the impact on me and the issues I need to confront and deal with.
It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that those who are unfortunate enough to wind up in jail do not get any favourable media coverage. In fact, quite the opposite is true. As a result, the public is not fully informed and, unsurprisingly, have little or no regard for the incarcerated. A significant reason for writing and publishing this book is to comment on that and to inform. I must admit that I had to overcome my own preconceived ideas and quickly learn that men (and women) in prison are as human as the rest of us.
On a personal note, along the way, there were many challenges I had to face, and these are also addressed.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer which required surgery. Some ten months later there was a tumour on the base of my tongue which was treated with radical radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Four years later cancerous spots appeared on my upper left lung node. More surgery! More recently and post-retirement, another cancer appeared on my lip. Yes, I was an Aussie kid who spent many hours in the sun without protection. More radiation therapy followed. In order, I refer to these as bum, tongue, lung and, lip!!
If all that wasn’t enough, over the same period, I suffered from a major depressive disorder which was treated with conventional medication. Ultimately it became what is known as ‘treatment resistant’ and I find myself on a more radical cocktail of drugs.
Despite all that I am happy to say I enjoy a stable and healthy lifestyle. Thanks be to God.

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