To stop the cycle of crime and incarceration, America's prisons need a culture change.
Despite a rising tide of state and federal criminal justice reforms, the United States still has the largest prison population in the world. And because prisons often fail to rehabilitate people serving their sentences, hundreds of thousands of men and women stay caught in a devastating cycle of crime and incarceration.
Our prisons won't produce different results until they undergo a complete cultural shift—one that places the emphasis on restoring people who are made in God’s image. That's why, with your help and prayers, Prison Fellowship is taking bold steps to expand both the Prison Fellowship Academy® and Warden Exchange®. While the Academy works to holistically transform groups of incarcerated men and women, Warden Exchange is an engine driving change at the highest levels of corrections.
Wherever we have established a strong Academy, men and women in the program are overcoming addiction, learning how to handle conflict, and becoming healthier and more productive citizens of their environments. From there, this Gospel-centered change moves outward, and we see the entire prison becoming safer and more restorative.
At a prison in our nation's heartland, the captain recently told us that the unit where the Academy participants live used to be the most violent and problematic in the entire prison. If an alarm went off, all the correctional officers knew to run there. But since the Academy started, it has become the most peaceable place in the whole prison.
Warden Exchange has equipped dozens of wardens to drive this same culture shift from the top down. Participants gain deep insights and learn practical strategies for facilitating restorative change. As a result, prisons become more positive and peaceful, and the transformed people returning from these facilities become agents of peace and renewal in their neighborhoods.
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