Every year in the United States hundreds of inmates are released into society with no hope of making it. Most of them come to place in life were they believe that no one cares for them. Many will soon find themselves with nowhere to go and will nothing to eat. They will struggle to find work in an economy where even none felons struggle to find employment. Some of them will resort to living on the streets and some will go back to committing crimes, because it is better inside of the prison than it is in the free world. But some of these people will find help in religious organizations that will help provide them with meals, clothes, and try to help them find jobs. Throughout the country religious groups have come together to provide these men and women a way out of this kind life and help them get onto their feet. Ministers work closely with offenders to help them with social behaviors, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse. With dwindling resources, many states have turned to religious groups to help resolve the high recidivism rate. And these churches that have a desire to reach this group have a major effect on these lives that they interact with. Many churches who have been involved in this type of programs have seen an amazing transformation in these individuals. This essay will explore the role and effects of prison ministry on the recidivism rates of inmate and how the positive effects out weight the negative implications that have arrived.
Prison ministry has always been a popular tool for lowering recidivism with the United States. Prison ministry became popular when Prison Fellowship made prison ministry their only mission. “Created in 1976 by Charles Colson after his release from prison for Watergate-related crimes, the organization now operates in 114 countries and is the largest prison ministry in the world” (Moll, 2006). Prison Fellowship focus in ministry is to evangelize those inmates who had been forgotten.
Prison growth over the past 30 years has been overwhelming to many criminal justice professionals. The funds that could have been spent rehabilitating offenders, has now been spent building new prisons and renovating prisons that should have been retired years ago. With the primary mission of corrects being the safety of citizens, the prison have no funds to really provide effective rehabilitation services to these inmates. According to Cei (2010) “Budget shortfalls in the last two years have reduced the ability of most state prison systems to state new programs and provide much-needed services.” So many inmates just find themselves coming out of prison the same way as they walked and sometime even worse off. With so many offenders inside of the system and so many repeat offenders, the prisons are overflowing. Many people are even concerned with governmental regulations and how the government is not reevaluating its current system that is in place (Cei, 2010).
With such large prison populations,...