Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministries
One in every 100 Americans is behind bars. And their spouses, children, parents and other relatives are likely sitting in our church pews.
Is Jesus calling you to minister to them? Matthew 25 provides a clear mandate, which we need to obey. Perhaps your church is considering launching a prison ministry or opening its doors to a support group for returning citizens. Maybe your church can provide job training or simply offer business suits and other professional attire that returning citizens can wear to job interviews. You and your church can participate in a variety of ways.
Wherever God leads you and your church to serve in this ministry, ABHMS wants to help you to find the tools and resources that will guide you on the journey. We want to help you become a “station of hope” for our brothers and sisters who need care and support. We want to help you to serve the least of these .
- Returning citizen
- Returning citizen replaces the words ex-con and ex-offender. The emphasis is on what one is rather than what one was. Returning citizen also emphasizes that the civil rights of those who have paid their debt to society should be recognized and that society must work to change laws that, for example, restrict voting rights or deny job opportunities to returning citizens.
- Healing community
- The term prisoner re-entry reflects the simple fact that most inmates do return to society. A healing community goes further. It presses for reintegration in a desire to see relationships restored among men and women returning from incarceration, their families, communities, the larger society and, when possible, the victims of their criminal behavior.
- Station of hope
- A “station of hope” is a church that serves as a healing and teaching refuge, offering a renewed vision for returning citizens, their families and communities.
The reality of incarceration is not only painful and devastating, but also closer to us than we would like to admit. By the end of 2009, more than 1.6 million people were reported to be behind bars, either in state or federal prisons.
Prison population in the United States by the end of 2009: 1,613,656
Parents of minors: 809,800
Almost 1.5 million minors have a parent in prison.
More than 7.3 million individuals in the United States are either on probation or parole or in jail or prison.
This means that one in every 31 adults is under correctional control in the United States.
Total U.S. adult population: 232,403,959
Correctional population: 7,410,685
The prison system is the fastest growing industry in America. The system is also facing financial crisis and, therefore, opting for early releases at an extremely growing rate. Are our communities prepared for this huge influx of returning citizens? Are our churches ready to open their doors and welcome individuals that deserve a second chance? Are we prepared to deal with the conflicts caused by having victims and perpetrators entering the same place of worship?
Our Prisoner Re-entry National Network is comprised of 20 members, prison chaplains, local pastors, leaders of re-entry organizations, and lay leaders in different parts of the country. They are equipped ministers with a passion for re-entry and willing to help you. As members of this team, they can provide you with resources in your area. For a listing of the members, please contact Tina Harp.