JAMES J. ACKERMAN
President and Chief Executive Officer
James Ackerman formally joined Prison Fellowship in 2016 as President and CEO.
Ackerman has more than 20 years of experience 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.
He has served on the boards of several companies and nonprofit organizations, including Saving Innocence, which provides social services to underage girls rescued from sex trafficking, the International Documentary Association, and Stockholm-based Accedo, a global pioneer in video applications.
Prior to joining Prison Fellowship, 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. Ackerman has spent the last dozen years volunteering with Prison Fellowship, leveraging his business experience to teach prisoners important life skills, such as resume writing, job interviewing, household budgeting and personal planning. He also spent 10 years mentoring prisoners and former prisoners, including a man who, though convicted of murder, went on to start a successful business of his own following his release from prison. Ackerman maintains a close friendship with him today.
Ackerman is also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He and his wife Martha reside in California. They have two adult children, Holden and Lily.
Sr. Vice President, Advocacy & Church Mobilization
Heather Rice-Minus serves as senior vice president of advocacy 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 and how churches play a critical role in meeting the needs of those impacted by crime and incarceration.
Rice-Minus provides strategic leadership to several teams at Prison Fellowship, including grassroots and policy staff, to advance campaigns on pivotal criminal justice issues. She spearheads Prison Fellowship’s efforts to build new church resources and deepen church partnerships through programs like Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree. Additionally, she directs Prison Fellowship’s outreach to and partnerships with foundations.
A valued shaper of the criminal justice reform debate because of her wide-ranging policy expertise, Rice-Minus has contributed to Christianity Today, Slate, CBN News, the Marshall Project, PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and WORLD Magazine, among others. She is the co-author of Outrageous Justice, a multimedia Bible study curriculum and companion book produced by Prison Fellowship. She 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. They welcomed another child as foster parents in 2020. 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.