Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why Jail Ministry?

People often ask me, "Why Jail Ministry?" Seven years ago, in a moment of weakness, I volunteered to write a newsletter for our county jail. You might say I was 'called' to the job - the story can be found in chapter 3 of my upcoming book The Women of Block 12: Voices From a Jail Ministry. A year later, I found myself leading a weekly writing group for women inmates - and I'm still there. It has been the most incredible and rewarding journey of my life.

A recent article by Lois Solomon in the Sun Sentinel talks about faith and character based programs offered by correctional facilities in Florida and other states. She quotes National recidivism rates of 50 - 60% and says that institutions offering such programs are helping to lower the rate of prisoner returns. Preliminary Florida state statistics are indicating recidivism rates as low as 10% for faith-based programs.

Why Jail Ministry? My answer is simple. "I believe it works."

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