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Pastors Belong Behind Bars

Posted August 2, 2011
At Prison Fellowship, one big thing gets us out of bed in the morning: witnessing the transformation of prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families through the saving love, truth and power of Jesus Christ. And for 35 years, we’ve consistently found that this transformation takes places most powerfully when the local Church is equipped and excited to make disciples behind bars. That’s why it’s so energizing every time we hear that a leader of a local church

Nation’s Largest Prison Ministry Announces Appointment of New CEO

Posted June 6, 2011
Today Prison Fellowship® announced the appointment of James Liske as the ministry’s CEO.  Liske, who currently serves as senior pastor at Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, Michigan, will begin his term with Prison Fellowship in late July.  He succeeds Tom Pratt, who has served as interim president since October 2010.

A Promise Kept: 35 Years of Ministry to the ‘Least of These’

Posted May 13, 2011
  Since founding Prison Fellowship 35 years ago, Chuck has visited hundreds of prisons. But his recent return to Maxwell struck him with particular force. As he walked the grounds where he was once incarcerated, he remembered the loneliness that prisoners experience. This Easter weekend, however, he was able to counter that hopelessness by presenting the life-changing message of hope found only in the resurrected Savior!   God can spark an enduring vision using a single moment in

So What?

Posted April 25, 2011
This weekend was eye-opening and inspiring for me. But as I talked with Deborah Daniels, Alabama volunteers, and Angel Tree founder Mary Kay Beard, I was especially encouraged to learn that Prison Fellowship’s ministry in Alabama continues all year.   As I leave Alabama, I am grateful to all of you who have taken time out of your Easter weekend to follow along with Chuck and the Prison Fellowship crew on our special trip.  This weekend was eye-opening

True Balance Restored

Posted April 10, 2011
A star athlete attending college on an athletic scholarship, Robert Jones was on top of the world. But a lifetime of “just getting by” and a perilous decision landed him behind bars—the one place that would truly turn his life around. Robert spent most of his childhood in Miami, Florida, with his single mother. Robert desired to know his father, and in the fourth grade moved in with him. It didn’t last long. He moved back

A New Heart for Mark

Posted January 12, 2011
Alone in his cell one night, Mark Downs wondered if anyone cared whether he lived or died. The answer eventually came through a dedicated Prison Fellowship Bible study leader, who showed Mark through Scripture that Jesus loved him and would always be with him. When he was a 12-year-old boy, Mark Downs’s heart stopped beating. Hurled through the windshield of a car racing 110 miles per hour when it crashed, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Can’t Do It on My Own: When Women Go to Prison

Posted January 12, 2011
Since 1985 the population of female prisoners has risen at nearly double the rate of males. Because women prisoners have historically been few, however, corrections policy has often not taken gender-specific needs into account. But over time, it has become increasingly obvious that female prisoners have different needs than men. Emily*, a slender prisoner with rusty-black hair, sports a tattoo of a panther curled over her left hand. On a Monday morning, she sits at a

A Father’s Final Wish Granted

Posted January 12, 2011
  Amber has been volunteering for Angel Tree® for many years. She coordinates the program in her local church, purchases gifts, and delivers the gifts to families in her area. The single mother of four children admits that it’s not always easy. Gifts can be expensive, families can be unresponsive, and they often live in very remote areas that are hard to find and have limited cell phone reception. But, in the end, Amber is always

“Can’t Do It on My Own”: Addressing Special Needs of Female Prisoners

Posted January 12, 2011
Since 1985 the population of female prisoners has risen at nearly double the rate of males. Because women prisoners have historically been few, however, corrections policy has often not taken gender-specific needs into account. But over time, it has become increasingly obvious that female prisoners have different needs than men. Emily*, a slender, 27-year-old prisoner, sports a tattoo of a panther curled over her left hand. On a Monday morning, she sits at a cafeteria-style table

What’s It Like to Record an Album in Prison? Inside Out Asks Sara Groves

Posted December 14, 2010
When award-winning singer-songwriter Sara Groves set out to produce a new Christmas album, she wanted to record songs that would inspire reflection on the true meaning of Christmas—that Christ left glory to take up suffering not His own. Groves wound up performing a Christmas concert for prisoners and recording the session live—from behind prison walls. O Holy Night Live—The Prison Show was recorded entirely inside Illinois’s Lincoln Correctional Center. Recently Groves took time to chat with

Lockdown Freedom

Posted October 29, 2010
Angel Tree is life-changing for prisoners and their families. Chris Cleveland smoked his first joint at age 12, the initial step on a 30-year journey with drugs. He remembers his age because that year his father, a Marine, and his mother, president of the New Mexico Broadcasters' Association, finally divorced. Even before the divorce, his parents worked long hours. "I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted," he recalls, "And it wasn't a good thing." By 16, his high

Hardwired to Connect: Where Nature Meets Nurture

Posted September 18, 2010
Although people with loving, Christian parents do make choices that lead to prison, unhealthy home environments are more closely linked to criminal behavior. But why do abuse and neglect predispose children toward deviancy as adults? A major research paper sheds light on how human beings are biologically designed to seek nurturing relationships and spiritual purpose, and how the absence of these beneficial influences adversely affects brain development. A prisoner sits down with a volunteer, recounting tearfully

Giving it All Away

Posted September 18, 2010
  When fresh from prison, Sarah Montoya-Lewis attended church with her school-age daughter on the day of an Angel Tree backpack giveaway. She asked for a backpack for her daughter, and though none remained, Sarah left with much more—an instant friend in Angel Tree coordinator Barb Steward. “She’s like my adopted daughter,” Barb says of Sarah. Mutual devotion to prison ministry has cemented their friendship. Barb has coordinated Angel Tree efforts at Shiloh Christian Ministries Church in

Bruce Hood Gives Back

Posted June 27, 2010
  Ever wonder if your efforts as a volunteer really make a difference? Bruce Hood’s story should remove all doubt. “Volunteering for Prison Fellowship brings love and encouragement to people sitting in dark jail and prison cells,” says Pastor Bruce Hood of Fresno, California. “People in prison have little hope; when you lead a life of crime and do nothing positive, it makes you believe you are nothing. But we tell them, You are somebody; you can

Prison Primers

Posted January 2, 2010
  Prison Primers Learn about prison culture from those who have been there. Reads Born Again (1976), Chuck Colson How former Watergate crook found Christ and founded Prison Fellowship.   From Addict to Disciple (2005), David Hain A short book about shaking addiction God’s way.   Inside the Miami Drug Cartel (1996), Manuel Baerga Manuel’s compelling autobiography of his transformation from drug lord to leader in the Kingdom of God.   Lessons from San Quentin (2009), Bill Dallas Bill Dallas burst into the San Francisco real estate business