JAMES J. ACKERMAN
President and Chief Executive Officer
A seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience worldwide in leading advanced media companies, today James Ackerman leads Prison Fellowship in its mission to restore those affected by crime and incarceration.
While Ackerman formally joined Prison Fellowship in 2016, his desire to serve prisoners and their families began much earlier. Since his first visit to a prison–a 2004 tour of a Prison Fellowship faith-based unit–he has been a faithful prison ministry volunteer. Ackerman's volunteer service in prison includes as a counselor to a man on death row in California's San Quentin State Prison and as a pre-release instructor in Tennessee's Riverbend Maximum Security Prison, through which he developed an ongoing mentoring relationship in and outside of prison with a man convicted of murder. He and his wife Martha have also coordinated Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program at their church, creating pathways for incarcerated parents to restore and strengthen relationships with their children and families.
Ackerman has garnered a reputation as a highly effective executive, helping media companies like Documentary Channel, British Interactive Broadcasting, Broadway Systems, and Open TV navigate periods of transition and growth. In 2005 he founded Spinnaker Media to develop innovative entertainment and digital media companies. He also previously held roles at British Sky Broadcasting, A&E Television Networks, Hearst Entertainment, International Family Entertainment, and Grey Entertainment & Media.
Ackerman is a member of the second graduating class of the Colson Center's Centurions program, now called the Colson Fellows program, and was personally mentored by Charles Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship. He serves as chairman of the board for Accedo, a Stockholm-based global pioneer in video applications, and is a member of the board of directors of the International Documentary Association. He is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He and his wife Martha reside in Washington, D.C. They have two adult children, Holden and Lily.
Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy
Craig DeRoche serves as senior vice president for advocacy and public policy at Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. He leads the organization's efforts to advance restorative criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels. A recognized subject-matter expert, he has testified before Congress and confers with lawmakers to help them design legislation that prioritizes accountability, community participation, and second chances.
DeRoche made front-page news when, at 34, he became the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives. In 2010, he made national headlines again for two alcohol-related arrests, revealing a long-concealed addiction to alcohol. It was only after his arrests, the ensuing rehab, and a renewed focus on his Christian faith that he entered lasting recovery. He relates the story in Highly Functional, his 2015 memoir.
Since joining Prison Fellowship, DeRoche has brought his political acumen and personal experiences to the pursuit of restorative criminal justice. He pens op-eds for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Times, and The Christian Post. He serves on the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, a bipartisan body charged with making recommendations to Congress and the president about how to improve the federal corrections system. He is also a signatory to Right on Crime's Statement of Principles on conservative criminal justice reform. Right on Crime is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in cooperation with Prison Fellowship and the American Conservative Union Foundation.
Vice President of Government Affairs and Church Mobilization
Heather Rice-Minus serves as vice president of government affairs and church mobilization at Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. She is a powerful, knowledgeable voice articulating the case for restorative criminal justice solutions.
Rice-Minus directs a team of grassroots and federal policy staff to advance campaigns on pivotal criminal justice issues. She spearheads Prison Fellowship’s efforts to strengthen Prison Fellowship’s relationships with national Christian organizations and denominations and deepen church partnerships.
Rice-Minus has contributed to stories about criminal justice reform in outlets including Christianity Today, Slate, CBN News, the Marshall Project, PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and WORLD Magazine. She is the co-author of Outrageous Justice, a multimedia Bible study curriculum and companion book. A valued shaper of the criminal justice reform debate because of her wide-ranging policy expertise, Rice-Minus maintains a vested interest in justice reform as someone who has both been a victim of crime and walked alongside a family member during his incarceration.
A native of Virginia, Rice-Minus resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter. Prior to her tenure at Prison Fellowship, she managed advocacy efforts on behalf of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. She is a member of the Virginia State Bar and a Colson Fellow.
Director of Communications
Jim Forbes is the director of communications for Prison Fellowship, working closely with local, regional, and national media representatives and organizations in promoting the ministry. Prior to his work with Prison Fellowship, Jim served as director of communications for two representatives on the House side of Congress in Washington, D.C. During that time, he also worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). For almost three decades prior to that, Jim’s career was in the television news industry. Jim has been married to his wife, Leisa, for the past 25 years and they reside in Bowie, Maryland.