Prison House

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Photo: cc LondonBrad


Being in prison is sometimes called 'doing porridge'. This recipe is for basic porridge which can be improved by adding flavours and sweetness as required. Making and serving a porridge or gruel of this kind offers and opportunity to identify with those unjustly imprisoned in many countries.


  • 50g porridge oats
  • 350ml milk or water, or a mixture of the two
  • Greek yogurt, thinned with a little milk
  • Clear honey, maple syrup, or chopped fruit such as bananas, berries or strawberries

Bishop Brian

House of Unjust Imprisonment


Prisoners, hostages and detainees have to be fed. In most prisons, people are fed what they need but in some places prisoners, especially those unjustly imprisoned, can be given fare that is very basic indeed, just enough to keep the body going.

The kidnapped hostage Brian Keenan wrote than when he was finally given an orange after months of captivity he just sat and marvelled at it. Prison food which is designed just to keep people going without much cost is often based on thin porridge (gruel) of various kinds and is made by mixing cereals with water or milk.

We invite you to think about sharing a meal which reflects a prison diet and to remember those who are being provided with only basics. Or you might like to organise a family fast day.

Bishop Brian

For reflection

  • What do you think are the basic foods people need to survive?
  • What do you think might happen to people who are not properly fed?
  • What happens when food = power?
  • Imagine you were in Brian Keenan's position, how would you have felt about that piece of fruit?
  • If you had been unjustly imprisoned and then released what would you feel about your first meal?

We hope you find 'food for thought' in sharing a meal together. Perhaps there are other recipes you would like to share or suggest for this space where people can reflect and pray about the needs of prisoners and the basics for human existence. Write down any thoughts you might have in your notebook, journal or blog. Are there any ingredients you would like to carry in your rucksack for your further journey?

Where would you like to go now? Where else will this journey take you?

Resources: websites for further research
Media: suggestions for films, books and music
© CTBI and MTAG 2012

Navigating the pathways

From here, you can travel as a visitor through a number of pathways through the various cell-spaces finding out what it is like to be an inmate here.

You can mix and match your journey through the different spaces depending on what you would most like to explore, study or do.

Yellow Blue Green Pink

Holding Cell

  • Welcome and warning
  • Guantanamo Bay

Solidarity through Scripture

  • Psalm 107, 142
  • Isaiah 42
  • Matthew 25
  • Acts 5,12,16
  • Hebrews 13


  • Images of imprisonment
  • Game – free the prisoner


  • Gift giving/Baggage
  • Dumping
  • Confession


Voices from and about imprisonment

Hope in time of darkness

  • Prayers
  • For those in prison, justice authorities, hostages, condemned


  • Websites for research
  • Amnesty

House arrest

  • Diary/blog
  • Review journal entries


  • Excerpt from Unreconciled?
  • News article about Liu Xiaobo

Finding a way to Freedom

Music - Songs, Hymns, Classical music


Films, books, CDs


  • Footsteps of Jesus
  • Passion of Jesus in John's gospel

Condemned cell

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Fr Maximilian Kolbe

Room 101

  • Woza
  • Fr Kolbe
  • Brian Keenan
  • Andy McNab




Empty your rucksack, and fill it with what? Will you be able to leave?