PREPARING PRISONERS FOR REENTRY
As release day approaches, the problems awaiting prisoners on the other side of the gate can be overwhelming. For years, they’ve been told when to eat, what to wear, and where to go. Now suddenly they will have to make decisions on their own.
Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers are devoted to helping prepare men and women to leave prison with a positive outlook, ready to succeed—just like Larry. In several prison facilities, we offer mentorships, life-skills training, marriage and parenting classes, and other programs that teach personal responsibility, the value of education and hard work, and care for people and their property, so that prisoners are prepared to thrive in their communities after release. In some states, we run faith dorms, where incarcerated men and women can participate in biblically based training within a nurturing Christian community.
Thanks to caring volunteers, prisoners are learning how to be leaders in their communities and walking out the prison gates as prepared as possible for the challenges that lie ahead.
Illegal drug use left Larry a shell of a man. He knew he needed to change, but he felt powerless.
In prison, Larry surrendered to Jesus. He enrolled in Prison Fellowship’s spiritual development and life-skills classes where he learned how to study and apply biblical truths, create resumes and business plans, and improve his leadership skills.
After Larry’s release from prison, Prison Fellowship volunteers connected him with a supportive church and Christian reentry center. A week after release, Larry had a job interview at a scrap yard. The owner saw something special in him and offered him the job. Using the skills he learned behind bars, Larry excelled. Within 90 days, he received five raises and was promoted to yard foreman. As foreman, he’s gotten to hire 19 other former prisoners.
Larry continues to meet weekly with his Prison Fellowship mentor, who’s been with him through it all. Larry attributes his success to God’s grace, his reentry preparation, a supportive church and reentry center, and a business owner who was willing to give him a chance.
Once a sentence is paid in full, we believe everyone deserves a second chance to contribute to their community. But there is a second prison in our nation; prisoners pay their debt to society, yet their punishment continues as they face legal, social, and many other kinds of barriers that inhibit their growth and potential.
Finding employment is perhaps the biggest hurdle. Many former prisoners don’t experience the success that Larry did, simply because they aren’t given the chance to prove themselves a changed man or woman.
The Second Prison Project, a program of Prison Fellowship, is working to expose the second prison in America and unlock the full potential of men and women with a criminal record. Learn More