Prisoners are one of the least-reached groups in the world. They are locked away, isolated, and vilified.
Outside the United States, the global prison population numbers about 8.1 million. Many inmates often serve their entire sentences without hearing about God’s mercy and forgiveness. Seventy-five percent of these men and women will re-offend within five years of their release—unless they have a change of heart.
Prisoners need to know God loves them. They need to know they can be forgiven and their lives can be transformed. Yet they live behind bars, cut off from society. Who will tell them Jesus loves them, and no one is beyond redemption—no matter who they’ve hurt or what they’ve done? Prisoners live in conditions that often promote violence and retribution. They learn to protect themselves by hardening their hearts to compassion and mercy. Without intervention, they will be eternally lost.
Our goal: To reach 1 million prisoners with the life-changing Gospel message by 2020.
Prisoners are not the only ones affected by their crimes. Their children often suffer the most—both physically and emotionally.
More than 12.4 million children outside the United States have lost one or both parents to imprisonment.
When a family breadwinner goes to prison, children are deeply impacted through no fault of their own. About 1 million children live in dire circumstances—forgotten, hungry, alone.
These children are the least of these, the ones Jesus tells us to care for. Yet their needs fall between the cracks of what most child-focused programs provide. These children desperately need someone to care about them, someone to love them, someone to give them hope for a brighter future.
Our goal: To care for 20,000 children of prisoners in need by 2020.
Justice systems worldwide are broken. Prison does not rehabilitate—most inmates will re-offend upon release. They do not have the opportunity to truly understand the harm that crime causes in victims’ lives. They do not meet and personally interact with people hurt by crime. They are not encouraged to reflect on the need for reparation, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Likewise, victims of crime are largely ignored. Their needs for healing are unmet, creating an emotional legacy of unresolved hurt and trauma.
For victims and offenders alike, the justice system is broken. It does not promote true biblical justice in the sense of restoring “shalom,” or wholeness.
Our goal: To develop and promote restorative justice in criminal justice systems around the world.
Prison Fellowship International is committed to sharing the Gospel with prisoners, caring for their children, and restoring justice. We do this through three initiatives:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)