"My second time in prison was different than my first, because of Prison Fellowship. .… I needed that healing process, because I would use drugs to cover up the pain. [The program] gave me other ways to deal with it. Better ways, healthier ways that I never knew."
– ROXANNE, FORMER PRISONER
"Prison Fellowship … saved my life. It really did. I woke up every day and I felt like I had no hope. … And then finally, here comes the Prison Fellowship Academy. And thank God, it was better than I imagined."
– CHERI, FORMER PRISONER
WOMEN IN PRISON:
THE SOBERING STATISTICS
Without resources to heal the hurts beneath their bad choices, many women stay stuck in a destructive cycle of crime and incarceration.
Since 1980 the number of women in U.S. prisons has increased by more than 700% and has outpaced men by more than 50%. (The Sentencing Project, 2015)
74% of the women in state prison used drugs regularly before incarceration. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)
43% of women in prison have been physically abused, and 39% have been sexually abused. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)
Through evangelistic Hope Events and Inside Journal® for Women, a Prison Fellowship newspaper with content tailored to women readers, women behind bars learn about the hope, love, forgiveness, and transformation God offers.
Prison Fellowship's parenting classes, family reconciliation events, and Angel Tree® Christmas program empower moms behind bars to strengthen bonds with their children and families—re-establishing trust and preparing for a better future.
Programs like the Prison Fellowship Academy get at the factors beneath women's self-defeating choices. With life skills, renewed thinking, and a powerful sense of their identity in Christ, women are ready to break out of the cycle of crime.
ANNIE’S STORY: HOPE AND HEALING
Annie Goebel came from a broken home. In the one place she should have felt safest, she endured emotional and physical abuse from an alcoholic parent. She struggled with low self-worth and distorted thinking. When temptation and pressures came her way, she didn’t know how to say "no." As a teenager, she dropped out of school, became addicted to drugs, and gave her firstborn up for adoption.
When Annie was an adult and the mother of three daughters, her then-husband was also involved in criminal activity. They both went to prison at the same time.
But God had bigger, better plans, and incarceration wasn’t the end for Annie. In prison, she encountered caring Christian volunteers and programs. She met Jesus, sought forgiveness, and took responsibility for her life. Though her circumstances were still far from perfect, she found peace and freedom like she had never known.
After her release from prison, Annie went back to school and earned multiple degrees. She met and married Mel, who is now her husband. With him, she co-founded, a nationwide ministry to incarcerated women. In 2017, that ministry became part of Prison Fellowship, which leverages Annie’s vast experience to reach and help transform tens of thousands of women behind bars every year.
"As a former prisoner, I believe inside every incarcerated woman is a little girl still believing lies about her dignity and self-worth," says Annie. "I am honored to represent her as Prison Fellowship and … bring hope and healing to many more incarcerated women."