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Season 4, Episode 9: Like Ripples in Water: The Effects of Incarceration on Families

Season #4

When a loved one is in prison, you’re serving a sentence of your own. The experience can break you, or shape you. Learn how today’s guest was able to overcome a system seemingly designed to tear families apart and have it ultimately bring hers closer together. 

Our book this week is My Incarcerated Life, and our guest is the book’s author, Qiana Riley-Jones. Qiana is a wife, mother, military veteran, nurse, and businesswoman. 

Remember the story from the second chapter of Mark where Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve? Matthew had been a tax collector for the Romans and people knew that he probably over-charged, then skimmed off part of the money collected. So the Jews didn’t have a very high opinion of tax collectors. They considered them thieves of the worst kind. When Jesus shared a meal with Matthew and other assorted folks that the Pharisees and teachers of the law called “sinners”, the religious leaders were upset, and said so. Let’s read Jesus’ response from verse 17.

“When Jesus heard this, he told them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’”

It’s unclear if Jesus is directing His response to the religious leaders or to his dinner companions. But it’s crystal clear that Jesus knew the importance of ministering where the spiritual need is greatest. Having helped with Bible studies in a jail, I can tell you they are places of tremendous spiritual need. The women I was blessed to meet gave me a much greater appreciation for God’s hand in my life, and it made me want that for them - no matter what they had done to get themselves where they were. 

I want us to look at Romans 3:10 - “As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent.’”

That’s why we need a Savior as desperately as any jail inmate. That’s why God sees us all the same. That’s why WE need to look at every person the same. And I know that’s hard. It’s so contrary to man’s fallen nature. But as believers we have something inside us that can overcome that and allow us to see as God sees. That’s the Holy Spirit. He can help us minister to people who, like Jesus said, know they are sinners. When you do, you’ll make a positive ripple effect of your own on countless people.

Please visit my website to access more episodes, read my blog posts, or check out ways you can financially support the podcast so that together we can impact more people, more families, and more communities. If you would like to contact me about booking me as a speaker, or ask about my consulting and investigative services, please email me at [email protected]


Get your copy of My Incarcerated Life

Connect with Qiana

Check out the work of Prison Fellowship

And Kairos Prison Ministry International


Listen to similar episodes:

Season 3, Episode 8: Prison Saved My Life 

Season 2, Episode 41: The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice 

Season 2, Episode 8: A Prisoner's Perspective: The Redemption of a Criminal Mastermind