Before Kyle Bass was a board member of Christian Library International, he spent most of his life being incarcerated for drug trafficking and possession. Today he gave a powerful message about the importance of community outreach for incarcerated individuals.
“I saw myself as worthless. I was starving for affirmation, for someone to love me, [and] when people started loving me, that changed me.”
Christian Library International is an organization that provides Bible studies, prayer groups, books and other media to prisoners. CLI’s volunteers send and receive hundreds of encouraging letters to inmates each week, giving them hope and second chances. When talking about his family and friends, Kyle noted, “The letters stopped after a year, sometimes a year and a half.” He expressed how much it moved him just to know someone else had touched a letter and sent it directly to him.
One issue facing faith-based ministry in North Carolina is lack of funding and deep budget cuts for prison chaplains. Many smaller prisons rely on volunteer chaplains to provide support for incarcerated individuals, and lack of volunteers in faith-based ministry and organizations is a pressing issue in our state.
Organizations such as Christian Library International are providing the necessary support to individuals affected by incarceration and in doing so, they are helping contribute to a safer, more effective criminal justice system.