Recommended Reading


Breathing Underwater – Richard Rohr

When we learn to identify our addiction, embrace our brokenness, and surrender to God, we begin to bring healing to ourselves and our world. Rohr shows how the gospel principles in the Twelve Steps can free anyone from any addiction – from an obvious dependence on alcohol or drugs to the more common but less visible addiction that we all have to sin. 


Addiction & Grace – Gerald G. Mai, M.D.

Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, Mai details the various addictions from which we suffer and emphasizes how addiction represents a doomed attempt to assert complete control over our lives. This is a compassionate and wise treatment of this important topic, offering a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality. 


Addiction and Pastoral Care – Sonia E. Waters and John Swinton 

Substance addictions present a unique set of challenges for pastoral care. In this book Sonia Waters weaves together personal stories, research, and theological reflection to offer helpful tools for ministers, counselors, chaplains, and anyone else called to care pastorally for those struggling with addiction.

Waters uses the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark’s Gospel to reframe addiction as a “soul-sickness” that arises from a legion of individual and social vulnerabilities. She includes pastoral reflections on oppression, the War on Drugs, trauma, guilt, discipleship, and identity. The final chapters focus on practical-care skills that address the challenges of recovery, especially ambivalence and resistance to change.

Homeward – Life in the Year After Prison – Bruce Western

Quantitative and qualitative evidence-based research drives a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t in successful ex-offender community reintegration. This 2018 re-entry study was conducted in Boston, Massachusetts.

Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
This book offers biblically-based answers to tough questions (E.g. Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?Aren’t boundaries selfish?). Through insights and stories, the authors demonstrate how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Addiction & Grace – Gerald G. Mai, M.D.Jesus Calling – Sarah Young
These writings are based on Jesus’ own words of hope, guidance, and peace within Scripture—penned by one who loves Him and reveres His Word. These devotions will help you look forward to your time with God and experience a deeper relationship as you savour the presence of the One who understands you perfectly and loves you forever.


My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers
The book’s strength lies in its stubborn insistence on the objective reality of redemption as the only secure foundation. Today subjective experience is often accepted as the criterion for authentic faith. In Chambers, we are constantly being reminded that the ground of faith and experience is the person of Jesus Christ.




The Songs of Jesus – Timothy Keller‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Tim Keller takes readers on a year-long journey through the Psalms. During the first six months, there is a brief devotional on each of the Psalms, with a basic overview and life application. During the last six months, Keller show readers how to turn each Psalm into a prayer. The book features excerpts from Keller’s bestselling books, recommended readings for deeper study, and fresh biblical insights.


Experiencing God day by Day – Richard Blackaby and Henry T. Blackaby
Brimming with insight and seasoned with grace, this 365-day devotional reader helps to start a daily routine by focusing the mind on the divine presence in each life. Whether selected as a thoughtful gift or as a personal resource, this book will inspire great changes while sustaining the essential habit of turning to God on a daily basis.

What’s So Amazing About Grace? – Philip Yancey

We speak of grace often. But do we understand it? More important, do we truly believe in it… and do our lives proclaim it as powerfully as our words? This book gives us a probing and impassioned look at grace: what it looks like…what it doesn’t look like…and why only Christians can and must reveal the grace the world is searching for.



Transforming Grace – Jerry Bridges

Grace is amazing because it is God’s provision for when we fall short of His standards. Unfortunately, too many of us embrace grace for our salvation but then leave it behind in our everyday lives. We base our relationship with God on our performance rather than on His love for us, even when we intuitively know that our performance cannot earn us the love we so desperately crave. Isn’t it time to stop trying to measure up and begin accepting the transforming power of God’s grace? 

Reflections of a Siamese Twin – John Ralston Saul 

Caught up in crises—political, economic, and social—Canada continues to flounder, unable to solve or even really identify its problems. Instead, we assert absolute differences between ourselves: we are English or we are French; Natives or Europeans; early immigrants or newly arrived; from the east or from the west. Or we bow to ideologies and deny all differences in the name of nationalism, unity, or equality. In a startling exercise in reorientation, John Ralston Saul makes sense of Canadian myths—real, false, denied—and reconciles them with the reality of today’s politics, culture, and economics.


From the Ashes – Jesse Thistle

This autobiographical book demonstrates how difficult it is for individuals to come out of a cycle of addiction and crime, particularly where they have been abused and/or neglected and where systemic racism is at play. This is a heartwarming and heart-wrenching memoir.


Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese

Set in Northern Ontario in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it follows protagonist Saul Indian Horse as he uses his extraordinary talent for ice hockey to try and escape his traumatic residential school experience. He achieves moderate success as a hockey player but is unable to escape his “indian” identity or the trauma from his past. A prominent theme in the novel is the power of storytelling. Saul must tell his story in order to confront the horrors of his past. On his journey to sobriety, Saul reflects: “Sometimes ghosts linger. They hover in the furthest corners and when you least expect, lurch out, bearing everything they brought to you when they were alive.” (

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City – Tanya Talaga

From 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ont. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities. (

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Return to the Teachings – Rupert Ross 

For three years, Rupert Ross traveled from the Yukon to Cape Breton Island, examining—and experiencing—the widespread Indigenous preference for “peacemaker justice.” In this remarkable book, he invites us to accompany him as he moves past the pain and suffering that grip so many communities and into the exceptional promise of individual, family, and community healing that traditional teachings are now restoring to Aboriginal Canada.

Ross writes, “…an ancient conviction shared by a great many Aboriginal peoples [is] that the best way to respond to the inevitable ups and downs of life, whether defined as ‘criminal’ or not, is not by punishing solitary offenders. The focus must be shifted instead towards the teaching and healing of all parties involved, with an eye on the past to understand how things have come to be, and an eye on the future to design measures that show the greatest promise of making it healthier for all concerned.” (

The Bondage Breaker – Neil T. Anderson

Harmful habits, negative thinking, and irrational feelings can all lead to sinful behaviour and keep you in bondage. If you feel trapped by any of these strongholds in your life, know that you are not alone – you can break free. This book offers a wholistic approach to spiritual warfare that is rooted in the Word of God. 

Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian – Dean Sherman (with Bill Payne) 

God has called Christians to overcome the world and drive back the forces of evil and darkness at work within it. Spiritual warfare isn’t just casting out demons: it’s Spirit-controlled thinking and attitudes. Dean delivers a no-nonsense, both-feet-planted-on-solid-ground approach to the unseen world. 

Spiritual Leadership – J Oswald Sanders

J. Oswald Sanders presents and illustrates principles of leadership through biographies of eminent men of God – men such as Moses, Nehemiah, Paul, David Livingstone, and Charles Spurgeon.

Christianity needs a powerful voice in today’s world. Such a voice can come only from strong leaders guided by God and devoted to Christ. Spiritual Leadership will encourage you to place your talents and powers at His disposal so you can become a leader used for His glory.


Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda – Henry and Richard Blackaby

This book encourages business and church leaders alike to follow God’s biblical design for success. It covers topics such as a leader’s challenges, character qualities, influence, decision-making techniques, and more, all the while focusing on how leaders discover and promote God’s vision for their organization and move people on to His agenda. There are also chapters on leading change and leading teams.


Discipleship: What it Truly Means to be a Christian – Collected Insights from A.W. Tozer

Do you long to be more like Christ? Discipleship lies at the center of Christian life and practice. It is a beautiful journey, in which each of us simultaneously attempts to become more like Christ and to help others do the same. It is our most important task on earth, but often it is neglected or misunderstood.



In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership – Henri J M Nouwen 

Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully. Most widely read among the over 40 books Nouwen wrote, is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.”

Ministry and Spirituality – Henri J M Nouwen

Coming together in one revised edition are three classic works by Henri J.M. Nouwen: Creative Ministry, The Wounded Healer, and Reaching Out. The common thread in these volumes is the author’s melding of spirituality and service. In Creative Ministry Nouwen examines teaching, preaching, individual pastoral care, organizing, and celebrating. In Wounded Healer, he calls upon ministers to become stewards of their own pain. And in Reaching Out, Nouwen probes the spiritual life as a journey between loneliness and solitude, hostility and hospitality, illusion and prayer. One of the legacies of the writings of Henri J.M. Nouwen is his ability to make clear the deep connections between spirit and sensitivity.


Soul Care: 7 Transformational Principles for a Healthy Soul – Dr Rob Reimer

Brokenness grasps for the soul of humanity. We are broken body, soul, and spirit, and we need the healing touch of Jesus. Soul Care explores seven principles that are profound healing tools of God: securing your identity, repentance, breaking family sin patterns, forgiving others, healing wounds, overcoming fears, and deliverance. Dr. Rob Reimer challenges readers to engage in an interactive, roll-up-your-sleeves and get messy process — a journey of self-reflection, Holy Spirit inspiration, deep wrestling, and surrender. It is a process of discovering yourself in true community and discovering God as He pierces through the layers of your heart. Life change is hard. But these principles, when packaged together and lived out, can lead to lasting transformation, freedom, and a healthy soul. Soul Care encourages you to gather a small group of comrades in arms, read and process together, open your souls to one another, access the presence and power of God together, and journey together into the freedom and fullness of Christ.

Cayley, D.  (1998). The Expanding Prison: The Crisis in Crime and Punishment and the Search for Alternatives. Toronto: House of Anansi Press.

** Christie, Nils. (2015). Crime Control as Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style. 3rd ed. Routledge.

** Foucault, Michel. (1998, 2nd ed.).  Discipline and Punish; the Birth of the Prison. Trans. From the French, Alan Sheridan, 1977. Random House. Originally published in France, 1975.

Flood, Derek. (2012). Healing the Gospel. Eugene, Oregon: WIPF and Stock Publishers.

Hennessy, Peter H. (1999).  Canada’s Big House; The Dark History of the Kingston Penitentiary. Toronto: The Dundern Group.
** Ignatieff, Michael. (1978). A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850. NY: Pantheon Books.

Ignatieff, Michael. “Imprisonment and the Need for Justice.” Theology 95, no. 764 (Mars
1992): 97–101.

Johnson, Byron R. (2011). More God, Less Crime; Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More. Templeton Press. 

Ross, Rupert. (1996). Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice. Penguin Books.

Snyder, Richard T. (2001). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Punishment.  Grand Rapids, Michegan: Eerdmans Publishing.

Souryal, Sam S. (1992). Ethics in Criminal Justice: In Search of the Truth. Anderson Publishing.

Anderson, Ray S. (2010) On Being Human. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers.
Jersak, Brad & Michael Hardin, eds. (2003).  Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ. Eerdmans.

Marshall, Christopher D. (2001). Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime and Punishment. Eerdmans/Cambridge.

Northey, Wayne. (1992). Justice is Peacemaking: A Biblical Theology of Peacemaking in Response to Criminal Conflict. MCC, Occasional Papers # 12.

Volf, Miroslav. (1996). Exclusion and Embrace; A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. Abingdon Press.

Wink, Walter. (1992).  Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination. Augsburg Fortress.

Beckner, W. Thomas. (2012). Correctional Chaplains: Keepers of the Cloak. Orlando: Cappella Press. 

Correctional Service of Canada. (2000) Reflections of a Canadian Prison Warden; The Visionary Legacy of Ron Wiebe: An Unfinished Conversation. 

James, J. T. L. (1990).  A Living Tradition: Penitentiary Chaplaincy. Ottawa: Chaplaincy Division, Correctional Service of Canada. 

Moody, Stan. (2013). Let My People Go! : Following Jesus into Our Jails and Prisons. WestBow Press.

Withers, Lloyd. (2005). Time Together: A Survival Guide for Families and Friends Visiting in Canadian Federal Prisons.  Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN).

** Ricciardelli, R., Carleton, R. N., Gacek, J., & Groll, D. L. (2020). Understanding Needs, Breaking Down Barriers: Examining Mental Health Challenges and Well-Being of Correctional Staff in Ontario, Canada. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 1036.

** Carleton, R. N., Rosemary Ricciardelli, Tamara Taillieu, Meghan M. Mitchell, Elizabeth Andres, and Tracie O. Afifi 2020. “Provincial Correctional Service Workers: The Prevalence of Mental Disorders” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 7: 2203.

Derksen, Wilma. (2002). Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence. Amity Publishers. 

Freake, Lorne. (2012). Prison Stories (Memoirs of a Chaplain).  AuthorHouse.

Hoke, Chris. (2015). Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders. HarperOne.
MacKinley, Ed. (2014). “Hope in Prison; Reflections on a Career in Prison Ministry.” Ecumenism: Chaplaincy in Prison. #191, Fall 2014, 10-11.

McGuire, Gene. (2017). “God Remembered Me in Prison.” Christianity Today, 61 (41) Juin 2017, 80-79.

Stoesz, D.  (2010).  Glimpses of Grace: Reflections of a Prison Chaplain.  Victoria, BC: FriesenPress.

Zehr, Howard. (1996).  Doing Life: Portraits and Interviews. Intercourse, PA: Goodbooks.

Zehr, Howard. (2002). Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims. Intercourse, PA: Goodbooks.

Bazemore, Gordon and Lode Walgrave. (1999).  Restorative Juvenile Justice: Repairing the Harm of Youth Crime. Willow Tree Press.

Braithwaite, John. “Restorative Justice and De-Professionalization.” The Good Society 13, no. 1 (2004): 28–31. doi:10.1353/GSO.2004.0023.

Hadley, Michael, ed. (2001). The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice. State University of New York Press. 

Johnstone, Gerry, ed. (2013). A Restorative Justice Reader. 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Willan Publishing.

Johnstone, Gerry and Daniel W. Van Ness, eds. (2006).  Handbook of Restorative Justice.  Portland, OR: Willan Publishing. 

Pranis, Kay, Barry Stewart, and Mark Wedge. ((2003). Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press. 

Van Ness, Daniel & Karen Heetderks Strong. (1997). Restoring Justice. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co.

Zehr, Howard. (1990). Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. Herald Press.

Zehr, Howard.  (2002).  The Little Book of Restorative Justice.  Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Zehr, Howard & Barb Toews, eds. (2004). Critical Issues in Restorative Justice, Criminal Justice Press.

Lewis, CS. God in the Dock. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014.

Marshall, Christopher D.. Compassionate Justice. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012.

Weaver, J. Denny. The Nonviolent Atonement. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014.

Volf, Miroslav. Free of Charge. Grands Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

** Gushee, David P.. The Sacredness of Human Life. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013.

** Shriver Jr., Donald W. An Ethic For Enemies. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997.

Scott, David Allen. Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice. Grand Rapids: Credo House Publishers, 2020.

Miller, Darrow L.. Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion. Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2015.

Price, Jerry. Transforming Twisted Thinking. Lexington: 2BRealMen Publisher, 2015.

Myers, Ched and Elaine Enns. Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2009.

** Nelson, Derek R.. What`s Wrong With Sin. New York: T&T Clark International, 2009.

** Boyd, Gregory A.. God At War. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997

Battle, Michael. Practicing Reconciliation in a Violent World. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing, 2005.

Battle, Michael. Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2009.

Christie, Nils. Limits to Pain. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2007.

Colson, Charles W. Justice That Restores Why Our Justice System Doesn’t Work and the Only Method of True Reform. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001.
Derksen, Wilma. The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk toward Forgiveness. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017.
Hauerwas, Stanley, Jean Vanier, and John Swinton. Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2008.

Hayman, Stephanie. Imprisoning Our Sisters: The New Federal Women’s Prisons in Canada. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014.
Institute, Arbinger. The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict. Oakland : Berrett Koehler Publishers, 2015.
Jones, L. Gregory. Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
Lederach, John Paul. Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2014.
Lederach, John Paul. The Little Book of Conflict Transformation Clear Articulation of the Guiding Principles by a Pioneer in the Field. Intercourse, Pa: Good Books, 2003.
Marshall, Chris. Little Book of Biblical Justice: A Fresh Approach to the Bible’s Teachings on Justice. Intercourse: Good Year Books, 2005.
McKnight, John. Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits. New York: Basic Books, 1996.

Mellosi, Dario, and Massimo Pavarini. The Prison and the Factory: Origins of the Penitentiary System. London: The Macmillan Press, 1981.

Nyquist, J. Paul. “Is Justice Possible?: The Elusive Pursuit of What Is Right.” Moody Publishers, 2017.

Ricciardelli, Rosemary. Surviving Incarceration: Inside Canadian Prisons. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014.

Ross, Rupert. Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths. Vancouver: Langara College, 2017.

Samenow, Stanton E. Inside the Criminal Mind: Rev. and Updated Ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 2004.

Schirch, Lisa. The Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2004.
Scraton, Phil, and Jude McCulloch. The Violence of Incarceration. London: Routledge, 2012.
Spitale, Lennie. Prison Ministry: Understanding Prison Culture inside and Out. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002.

Thompson, Curt. The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe about Ourselves. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2015.

Toews, Barb. The Little Book of Restorative Justice for People in Prison Rebuilding the Web of Relationships. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2006.

Wink, Walter. The Powers That Be Theology for a New Millennium. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Yoder, Carolyn. The Little Book of Trauma Healing: When Violence Strikes and Community Security Is Threatened. Intercourse: Good Books, 2005.

Zehr, Howard, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Allan MacRae, and Kay Pranis. The Big Book of Restorative Justice: Four Classic Justice & Peacebuilding Books in One Volume. New York, NY: Good Books, 2015.

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