Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dismas Ministry’s mission?

The mission of Dismas Ministry is to provide prisoners with the free Catholic scripture, faith and prayer resources they need to restore their relationship with the Catholic church and with God. We provide these free resources in the spirit of Christ’s gospel, What you have received freely, give freely” ~ Matthew 10:8.

Why reach out to prisoners?

A major goal of Dismas Ministry’s mission is reaching out to every Catholic prisoner in the United States. Despite their wrongdoing, prisoners deserve the same spiritual care that others receive as members of the Body of Christ. We believe that prisoners are capable of lasting, spiritual change with help and encouragement from their faith community. Many will use their time behind bars to reassess their lives, and with God’s help, make amends for the way that they have victimized others. As fellow Catholics, we strive to support their spiritual rehabilitation.

What does Dismas Ministry do for prisoners?

Until Dismas Ministry was founded, Catholic resources for prisoners were not readily available. That is why our ministry provides free Catholic scripture, faith and prayer resources to thousands of prisoners across the United States. The FREE resources Dismas Ministry provides to prisoners include:

Go to our Inmate Services page to learn more.

Who helps distribute these resources?

Dismas Ministry provides these resources directly to prison chaplains and prisoners who request them. No distributions are made without a request to avoid possible waste. We also collaborate with parish and diocesan prison ministries to the extent possible.

Because the prison chaplains and prisoners have little or no funds of their own, the materials we send are free. This is possible because of donors who care about the spiritual needs of their brothers and sisters in prison. Go to our Contact page to order materials.

We are an organization that is run completely by donations therefore, we ask that if your organization or group has a budget for these needed materials and can help support our mission, please order through our online store.

Can only Catholic prisoners receive these resources?

Although we provide what is lacking to Catholic prisoners, the incarcerated of any faith may request our services. We also collaborate with non-Catholic prison chaplains who assist us in distributing our materials.

What resources does Dismas Ministry publish?

  • I Am Beautiful: – A special project that publishes a book of the same name containing writings and art by and for women prisoners who are survivors of abuse.
  • Keeping Hope – A Resource for Family and Friends of the Incarcerated. Its content is based on actual interviews with spouses, family members, friends, prison ministers, and the incarcerated. Available in English and Spanish.
  • Messengers of Hope – A training resource for Catholics interested in prison ministry; includes a DVD. Available in English and Spanish.
  • The Forgotten Work of Mercy – A training resource that provides a brief introduction to a much-needed ministry of the Church.
  • Understanding Trauma – A Training Resource that provides an examination of trauma, with the understanding that many people behind bars were perpetrators of trauma, but victims of trauma as well. Available in English and Spanish.

What can I do to help?

  • Study Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org)
  • Form a jail or prison outreach. Learn more about that from our FREE resource, The Forgotten Work of Mercy.
  • Pray for victims and their families as well as inmates and the families of inmates by joining our joining our Union of Prayer.  Not everyone in the faith community is able to become directly involved in prison ministry. We believe that without the prayers of others to support our work, this spiritual outreach to inmates cannot be successful, for nothing truly lasting is accomplished without prayer, which is our connection to God.
  • Visit all the pages on this website for more information about prisoners and victims.
  • If you already have a prison ministry in place, please join our Prison Ministry Network.
  • Help support Dismas Ministry’s national prison outreach with a donation.
  • Visit Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition. They offer a full list of Catholic Prison Ministry Resources.
  • Follow us on all our social media channels to stay up-to-date and learn more.