image of blind justice

Prayer Day 5 of 7: Correctional and Justice Services

“I was in prison, and you came to visit me”. Jesus – Matthew. 25:36

The Salvation Army believes in restorative, not punitive, justice. Restorative justice offers an alternative to “an eye for an eye” so-called justice, which we believe is not just at all. Pierre Allard, possibly Canada’s leading voice on Christian restorative justice, is a man I’ve had the privilege of spending time with and learning from over the years. This is what he has to say about the topic:

“…it is clear that Restorative justice seeks to involve as much as possible the victim(s), the offender(s) and the community. It calls for a deep respect for all involved. It seeks to listen carefully to all parties, to focus on the truth of the event and to the possibility of reparation. Restorative justice can never be forced on people. It is a voluntary process. It seeks to humanize the justice process, which through the centuries has become professionalized and sanitized. The central focus of Traditional Justice is: offenders getting what they deserve. The central focus of Restorative Justice is: victim needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm.”

The Salvation Army has worked tirelessly to hold on to its chaplaincy stake-hold inside our prisons and jails. With the increase of ‘super jails’, which have very little time for restorative justice, it’s time we pray harder than ever before to keep our pastoral presence inside these institutions.

Here are some ministries to pray for today:

  • Toronto Correctional and Justice Services (including Barrie and Lindsay)
  • Community Justice Programs (intended for minor offenders e.g. Anger Management, Road Rage, Theft Intervention, Alcohol & Drug Awareness)
  • Community Service Order Program (arranges community service work as a part of probation)
  • Electronic Supervision Program (provides electronic monitoring (ankle bracelets) as an alternative to incarceration)
  • Adult and Youth Residences/Halfway Houses
  • Chaplains work (3 detention centers and 8 courts in Toronto)

Number of People Served:

  • Community Service Hours: 409
  • Electronic Supervision: 494
  • Group Programs: 997
  • Chaplain referrals: 2,273
  • Residence Admissions
    • Adult (Capacity: 85)
    • Youth (Capacity: 22)
  • Staff -135

Specific Prayer Requests from Corrections Leadership:

  • Increased spiritual impact on people involved in the justice system
  • More people following a new positive direction
  • More stable families
  • Decreased recidivism

Let’s keep trying to be The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.


Dion Oxford, Mission Strategist

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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