Entering a Place of Fire: Motivations for Christian Rehabilitation Ministry inside Paraguay’s Tacumbu Penitentiary

by Tim Revett BA ’00

Tim Revett BA ’00 has published an article in the latest issue of the journal Social Sciences and Missions about the infamous Tacumbú Penitentiary in Paraguay. From the abstract: “Terms like “frightening” and “spiritually dark” fall short in describing many visitors’ impressions. The human rights abuses there are not merely statistics on a United Nations report—they are daily life for thousands of men: overcrowding, malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, over-extended sentences, and the constant threat of assault. According to a former warden, the main rehabilitation efforts occur inside the penitentiary’s Christian rehabilitation cell blocks, which are managed by chaplains and volunteers. This paper proposes that the primary motivations driving these ministry workers to endure the inhospitable prison environment fall under three categories used by Tewksbury and Dabney: helping inmates, visiting known inmates, and sharing religious beliefs.”