Incarceration touches all of us. In the U.S., some 6.6 million people live under supervision of adult correctional authorities (in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole). Nearly 2.2 million men and women are behind bars, and more than 600,000 people are released every year—with two-thirds being rearrested within three years. The annual cost to incarcerate and reincarcerate this many people? More than $80 billion. Beyond the price tag, soaring levels of incarceration and recidivism take a toll on communities and families. This cycle of crime and incarceration produces broken relationships, victimization, despair, and instability—and we must do better. We can’t afford not to.
Prison Fellowship® is the nation's largest nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for justice reform. We seek to share the real, living hope of the Gospel with people who long for its power to make them new. Real restoration begins by addressing the cycle of crime on all fronts, in prison and out, and engaging in a cycle of renewal.
Prisoners participate in Prison Fellowship classes each month
Prison Fellowship volunteers across the U.S.
Children connected to a church in 2015 to receive the Gospel and a Christmas gift on behalf of an incarcerated parent
PRISON FELLOWSHIP'S HOLISTIC APPROACH IS MOVING MEN, WOMEN, AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM A CYCLE OF CRIME TO A CYCLE OF RENEWAL.
RESTORING PRISONERS TO CHRIST
Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers are in hundreds of correctional facilities each day sharing the Gospel, spreading hope, and teaching life-changing classes. We introduce incarcerated men and women to a new future in Christ and nurture their spiritual growth with Bible studies and discipleship courses. Prison Fellowship is dramatically expanding its ministry to women—the fastest-growing prison population—with events, resources, and intensive programs tailored to their specific needs. As a result, we are seeing prisoners use their sentences as a time to grow, change, and find a new, positive life path with Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers as their guide.
DEVELOPING GOOD CITIZENS
Prison Fellowship's approach to helping formerly incarcerated men and women thrive begins with our programs inside of prisons. We prepare those inside for healthy reintegration by providing life-skill classes, mentors, and access to local community resources. The intensive, long-term Prison Fellowship Academy® takes men and women through a holistic life transformation, while participants live in faith-based dorms, take practical classes, and prepare for reentry within a caring Christian community. Prison Fellowship also works with churches and organizations to strengthen local support networks for returning citizens.
SERVING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Children are the invisible victims of incarceration, and studies show they are some of America’s most at-risk kids. Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree® mobilizes volunteers around the country to deliver a gift, the Gospel, and a personal message of love to children on behalf of their incarcerated parent at Christmas. Churches and organizations partner with Angel Tree to come alongside prisoners’ families all year long, providing respite to caregivers and support while their loved ones are away. Through Angel Tree Camping®, children of prisoners are sponsored to attend Christian summer camps, with an opportunity to have fun, fellowship with peers, build relationships with caring camp counselors, and experience God’s love in the great outdoors. Angel Tree Sports Clinic™ provides a place for children to gain skills in various sports and learn about God's love through lessons, drills, and fun competition.
ADVOCATING FOR JUSTICE THAT RESTORES
Prison Fellowship believes that all people are God's creation and have inherent dignity, so our approach to justice reform refocuses on the worth of those impacted by crime. Prison Fellowship advocates for a system that doesn’t simply lock away those who have broken the law but provides transformative accountability, validates victims, and makes communities safer. Our advocacy program works closely with legislators to help retool our system, passing groundbreaking legislation and building a justice system that reflects the God-given dignity of each person. Across the country, Prison Fellowship mobilizes our national network of Justice Ambassadors and advocates to work together for justice that restores.
SUPPORTING RETURNING NEIGHBORS
Every person has dignity and potential, but 1 in 3 American adults has a criminal record. This limits their access to education, jobs, housing, and other things they need to reach that potential. Since launching Second Chance™ Month in 2017, Prison Fellowship has spearheaded the nationwide effort to raise awareness about these barriers and unlock brighter futures for people with a criminal record. We work directly with men and women who have graduated our programming, and join efforts with churches, para-church organizations, and others to support those leaving prison. We partner with Celebrate Recovery®, a biblically based recovery program incorporated in our Academy curriculum, and work to connect our program graduates to CR chapters on the outside after release.
EMPOWERING GREAT WARDENS
Wardens, the CEOs of prisons, hold the key to moral rehabilitation for the incarcerated men and women under their charge. In complex systems like prisons, that begins by viewing wardens not as watchdogs, but as CEOs of the correctional facilities they manage. The Warden Exchange® program convenes corrections officials in a transformational journey of enhanced leadership, idea and best practice exchange, and peer networking—all for the purpose of creating restorative, rehabilitative environments that lead to safer communities inside and outside of prison. fulfill their legacy of building safer, more rehabilitative prisons.