Texas prison's 'field ministers' see wide-ranging impact

 
"I've been in prison before," Michael Rios humbly reflects. "I came in when I was very young. I had the right ideas, I had the right intents: get out, get married, have a life." Dressed in a white prison uniform, Rios speaks slowly but directly, his tattooed hands slowly gesturing to accentuate his words. He has been in prison longer than some of his fellow inmates have even been alive. Though Rios had the "right intents," bad choices kept him ...

Bicycle ministry steering lives toward recovery

 
"Pastor Hurricane! Pastor Hurricane! Me next!" a 9-year-old redhead shouted. "That's not his name, Dominic! That's his church," the boy's mother chided. "He's Pastor Gee." "Me, me, Pastor Gee!" Dominic chanted. He wanted his turn on the bicycle training path. On a warm day behind the Herrin House of Hope soup kitchen and thrift shop, Pastor Jeffrey Gee of Hurricane Memorial Baptist Church in Herrin, Ill., and several volunteers taught children bike safety, complete with helmets and a course lined ...

Florida Department of Corrections sees benefits of faith-based programs

 
The Florida Department of Corrections has recognized the value that faith-based programs bring to inmates and has designated certain facilities and dorms as “faith and character-based.” Kim Riley, chief of Bureau of Readiness and Community Transition, said the programs are designed to reduce recidivism and disciplinary infractions and promote pro-social behaviors. There are three faith and character-based institutions and 12 faith and character-based dorms across the state. During 2014-15, 12,000 inmates were enrolled in one of the programs. Riley said ...

Calvary Clearwater takes unique approach to recruiting prison ministry mentors

 
Most churches that do prison ministry will tell you that recruiting volunteers can be a challenge. At the same time, some people are better suited for prison ministry than others. First Touch Mission at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., takes a unique approach to volunteer recruitment for the very hands-on ministry it does with women who are newly released from prison and transitioning back into society. When the ministry identifies an inmate who will come to live in the ...

Prison ministries encourage personal, spiritual growth

 
When an inmate enters Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., she loses her old life. But in Alicia Smallwood's eyes, she also gains an opportunity for a new life in Christ regardless of past or present circumstances.  "She (the inmate) can't see her kids, can't help the person who is taking care of them. She thinks she has lost everything," said Smallwood, a chaplain. "I tell her that God has cleared her mind of drugs, of men, ...