paper by Byron Johnson. This study examines the impact of religious
programs on institutional adjustment and recidivism rates in
two matched groups of inmates from four adult male prisons in
New York State. Inmates who were most active in Bible studies
were significantly less likely to be rearrested during the follow-up
period. (Justice Quarterly)
Sycamore Tree Project is an intensive 8-12 week in-prison programme
that brings groups of crime victims into prison to meet with
groups of unrelated offenders. They talk about the effects of
crime, the harms it causes, and how to make things right. Sycamore
Tree Project has become a core part of the InnerChange Freedom
Initiative, PFUSA's APAC replication. It has also been
tested it in New Zealand and in England. In each instance it
has been highly successful. Victims and offenders tell us it
has been life changing.
The programme was named after the story in Luke 19:1-10 about Jesus and Zacchaeus, a dishonest tax collector. Zacchaeus came to see Jesus but couldn't get through the crowd. So he climbed a sycamore tree to get a better view. Jesus noticed him and stopped to talk. Out of that meeting came something unexpected; Zacchaeus repented and agreed to pay back his victims. Jesus then helped the crowd understand the reconciling power of biblical (restorative) justice.
too often, the forgotten victims of crime are the little children
of inmates, who are left without a father or mother -- through
no fault of their own. We all pay the price for this: the evidence
is clear that children with a parent in prison are six times
more likely to end up in prison themselves someday. Angel
Tree(r), a ministry of Prison Fellowship(r), attempts
to help break this cycle of crime.
Victims Families for Reconciliation
a murder, victims' families face two things: a death and a crime.
At these times, families need help to cope with their grief and
loss, and support to heal their hearts and rebuild their lives.
From experience, we know that revenge is not the answer. The
answer lies in reducing violence, not causing more death. The
answer lies in supporting those who grieve for their lost loved
ones, not creating more grieving families. It is time we break
the cycle of violence. To those who say society must take a life
for a life, we say: "not in our name."
InnerChange Freedom Initiative
In April 1997 Prison
Fellowship embarked on the boldest experiment ever undertaken by a
prison ministry. At the request of the State of Texas, we launched
the first-ever, 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week Christian prison program
at the Carol Vance Unit near Houston, TX. The InnerChange Freedom
Initiative™ (IFI) is a revolutionary, Christ-centered, Bible-based
prison program supporting prison inmates through their spiritual and
moral transformation beginning while incarcerated and continuing
Examining the Idea of Church-based Prisoner Reentry (Urban Institute)
Faith-based initiative section of Re-Entry Blog:
A Daily Magazine of
Transition from prison news, insight and best practice.
recently noted: "Like many of you, we have taken special interest in the apparent successes of faith based initiatives in and out of prisons around the country. We even have a seperate category dedicated to the topic. Today, we present an alternative view to the success of faith based programs from
Mark Kleiman, Professor of Policy Studies and the Drug Policy Analysis Program at UCLA. He claims in this article from Slate.com that Faith Based Programs actually don't
work. Then why are multiple studies showing success? Kleiman claims, "one of the oldest tricks in the book, one almost guaranteed to make a success of any program: counting the winners and ignoring the losers. The technical term for this in statistics is "selection bias"; program managers know it as "creaming." He goes on to suggest that technical reviewer Anne Piehl of Harvard University calls this instance of it "cooking the books.""
For A Captive Audience, Paid for By Taxes, by Diana Henriques (NY
Times 10 Dec 2006). Since articles in the Times disappear behind a pay
wall quickly, I'll point out some nice links they had to background in the
Iowa case, Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison