Prison Fellowship remembers Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a heavyweight in the fight for criminal justice reform and a long-serving member of our board of directors.
Prison Fellowship® mourns the loss of Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a prominent evangelical leader who served as the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and frequently advised President Donald Trump.
BISHOP HARRY R. JACKSON JR. FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE
Bishop Jackson served on Prison Fellowship's board of directors from 2013 until his death November 9, 2020. Heather Rice-Minus, Prison Fellowship's senior vice president of government affairs and church mobilization, remembers him for his passionate commitment to criminal justice reform.
"He was bold in taking Gospel values to the public square," she says. "He used his influence to advance sentencing and prison reform, helping pass the historic, bipartisan FIRST STEP Act."
The FIRST STEP Act, considered the most important federal prison reform in a generation, was signed into law by President Trump late in 2018. Bishop Jackson, who frequently attended White House functions, used his platform to speak up for the incarcerated and the importance of biblical justice.
Bishop Jackson was also an early signatory to the Justice Declaration, a call to the Church to deploy its unique and unparalleled capacity to respond to crime and overincarceration.
DEARLY REMEMBERED, GREATLY MISSED
"Bishop Jackson took his leadership beyond the pulpit," reflects James J. Ackerman, Prison Fellowship's president and CEO. "He was a firm believer in a unified, reconciled Church—and in the impact God's people can have on the culture when they stand together for biblical values like remembering the prisoner."
Despite his great influence, Bishop Jackson impressed others with his humility and kindness.
"He was an encourager, whose wise counsel I treasure," shares Board Chairman Carl F. Dill Jr. "His wisdom was louder than his voice. He always spoke humbly, but with Spirit-filled conviction. Bishop Jackson will be dearly remembered."
"He will be greatly missed," concludes Tim Robison, the ministry's chief operating officer, "but now he's rejoicing with his Friend and Savior Jesus Christ. And we rejoice with him."
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