Bishop Rachel spends week leading up to Easter in prison
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, will spend the week leading up to Easter at Eastwood Park Women’s Prison.
This visit will be exactly a year on from when Bishop Rachel first visited on the day of her announcement. This time Bishop Rachel will spend three days with the staff and women prisoners to learn more about the life of the prison and the realities of what it’s like to be a female prisoner.
The institute for Criminal Policy Research states that more than 700,000 women and girls are held in penal institutions throughout the world. The analysis indicates that the number of women and girls in prison has increased by 50% in the past 15 years.
Across the UK, more than 13,500 women are imprisoned each year. The Prison Reform Trust reports that women entering prison are more likely to have been imprisoned for non-violent offences and are highly likely to be victims as well as offenders. More than half (53%) report having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child.
Bishop Rachel will spend time shadowing the prison Chaplain, attending prison focus groups and also leading special services. These will include a service at which Bishop Rachel will wash the women’s feet, to represent when Jesus washed his disciples feet before the last supper. She will also bless the Holy Oils and lead on Good Friday reflections.
Bishop Rachel said. “In Holy Week, Christians recall Jesus Christ's death, the brokenness of the world and our part in it; and yet we celebrate God's immense love and new life revealed in Christ's resurrection. It will therefore be very poignant to spend time with the women in Eastwood Park in this special week in which the focus is one of hope and new possibility."