You may squirm at the idea that a man or woman just out of prison is now living down the street. The idea that thousands of men and women are leaving prison and entering your community may disquiet you. It would be easier not to have to consider the uncomfortable issue of prisoners re-entering society.
Prisons are the only businesses that succeed by failing.
In the United States, failed corrections systems cost taxpayers $68 billion a year and return approximately 50 percent of ex-offenders back to prison within three years. Any other business that failed half the time would close its doors.
Jesus promises to make all things new. But radical transformation seldom takes place overnight. Here’s one example of how a church came alongside an ex-prisoner through his baby steps toward lasting change.
“When he said that, I settled down,” says Pastor Ball, and he launched into his new prison ministry.When
This isn’t what I signed up for. I just wanted to be a helper—with a job that sounded safe, with someone else in charge. A few months ago, when I expressed my desire to work with Prison Fellowship, I wanted to be helpful but didn’t know exactly what I’d be doing.
In the Centurions Program—BreakPoint’s year-long, intensive worldview training program—we like to say that we’re turning the world “right side up” for Christ. When Christians study the principles of their faith and learn to apply them in the world, amazing things happen.
The Bible’s book of Acts ends with chapter 28. But that didn’t stop Dr. David Osterlund from starting a newsletter called Acts 29—“because we’re writing a new chapter here in South Carolina,” he explains with enthusiasm.
In December 2008, for example, 15 newly commissioned missionaries headed out to spread the hope and power of Jesus Christ within a culture most would find foreign and fearsome: the prison culture.The
He screamed. He jumped up and down. And then the 11-year-old unashamedly cried as he inserted the ear buds of his new MP3 player and heard his father’s voice.
“It was like having his father right there,” says Angela* of her grandson Tony whom she cares for while his dad—her son—serves time in prison.
For the first time in years, Eddie whispered, “God, please don’t let me die.” Something profound happened. That whisper for intervention moved Eddie from being a hardened crook on one side of the cross to the other side, just as the criminal long ago cried out: “Today, remember me in paradise.”
What makes an effective mentoring relationship?
A 2001 research study by the National Resilience Resource Center, University of Minnesota1, includes some important revelations that can help guide volunteers who mentor prisoners, ex-prisoners, and children of prisoners.
The study investigated the mentoring practices of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, the oldest and one of the most reputable mentoring programs for adolescents.