Prison Ministry Team Report for June 2024

Philip Beck

The Prison Ministry Team “endeavors to become informed advocates for justice and build relationships to decrease isolation of those confined in the Iowa Justice System.” Here are some of our latest efforts:

  • The Board meeting on June 4 included two guests. Zaria Rochester of the Inside Out Reentry Community in Iowa City explained the work she does to support formerly incarcerated individuals through that organization. Dr. Mary Cohen of the University of Iowa discussed some of her recent projects advocating for more just and humane treatment of the incarcerated, including an attempt to build a worldwide network of contacts and resources called IMAJIN (International Music and Justice Inquiry Network).
  • The Prison Ministry Team sponsored a well-attended screening at FilmScene of Beyond Walls, a program of five short documentaries about prison life, its effects on families of the incarcerated, and life after incarceration.  The films argue the need to find alternatives to the U.S. prison-industrial complex. After the screening, there was a panel discussion with incarcerated-rights advocate Sue Hutchins; Michelle Heinz, executive director of the Inside Out Reentry Community; and Ken Greene, a formerly incarcerated individual now part of the Inside Out community; after which the audience asked questions. The film and discussion were both well received and PMT successfully raised money through donations that will be used to support incarcerated individuals in Iowa.
  • The Prison Ministry Team continues to be active through the Pen Pal program. Members regularly correspond with incarcerated individuals either by “snail mail” or through the Iowa Department of Corrections’ o-mail system, CorrLinks. We are always looking for volunteers to write to inmates. Incarcerated persons tell us over and over how important it is for them to hear from those of us outside. Just knowing that there are caring people who haven’t forgotten them and are willing to spend time writing to them is a deeply meaningful, positive experience for them. And it is very rewarding for volunteers, too. We can set you up with contacts, instructions for using CorrLinks and postal mail, and a sample introductory letter to use or modify as you see fit. If you think you might be interested, please email and one of us will get back to you.  You can also check out our page on this website at
  • The UUA has a prison ministry through the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Worthy Now Prison Ministry Network. They’re also looking for people to become pen pals to incarcerated individuals nationwide. For more information, go to
  • The UUS Prison Ministry Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the UUS Conference Room. You are welcome to join us at our next meeting on July 2, 2024, either in person or via Zoom (Meeting ID: 848 0842 4430; Passcode: 193553).

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