By / Feb 10

Jon Kelly was a troubled teen growing up with a single mother in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood. Multiple schools couldn’t keep him out of trouble. He dropped out of school by ninth grade.

“I was always high every day … always in fights, always getting shot at or shooting at somebody,” Jon says. “I for sure did not think I would make it past 16.”

Jon remembers the day he was arrested. He had just turned 19 two months before. He was taken to jail for his role in a murder.

A couple officers in the jail would talk to him from time to time. That first week, Jon was so bored that he asked if either of them could bring him something to read. The officers handed him a copy of the New Testament. On the cover were the words, “There’s hope for you. Jesus cares.”

“I read God’s Word for the first time,” Jon says, “and I haven’t been the same since.”

A change of heart

Jon had not yet gone to court when he surrendered his life to Jesus. His lawyer didn’t believe he was serious about his newfound faith, dismissing it as “jailhouse religion.” Even so, Jon knew what he had to do.

“Part of being a Christian is repenting and taking ownership of your sins,” Jon told his lawyer. “I would like to plead guilty.”

Jon pled guilty to third-degree murder, a crime that usually carries a sentence of 20–40 years in prison. Standing in court before the victim’s family, Jon asked for forgiveness. Then he apologized to the judge
for wasting the court’s time and taxpayers’ money. Jon also said that he would respect his sentence—no matter what it was.

“It didn’t matter that [the victim] was supposedly a drug dealer,” Jon explains. “At the end of the day, he was a young man made in the image of God who didn’t deserve to die.”

Miraculously, the judge sentenced Jon to 6–15 years in prison, with five years of probation.

A fresh start

In prison, he made the most of his time by taking classes and earning his GED. When Jon was released on parole, he stepped out into a world that is overwhelming for many former prisoners. He needed a place to live, a job, and a community of friends who would support him.

So Jon moved back in with his mother, who was living in a safer neighborhood. He found a local church, where he met a new circle of friends who welcomed him in and cared for him. He even managed to find
a job as a painter his first week out.

Today, Jon serves as the pastor of Chicago West Bible Church, a church he helped start. He’s married and has two children. “It’s been an amazing journey, and I praise God for that,” Jon says.

But it’s also been a tough one. Although he completed his sentence and is now a valuable contributor in his community, Jon’s criminal record follows him. With his record comes the legal restrictions on housing, employment, education, and more, called collateral consequences, that limit his opportunities to thrive. This is why Jon is passionate about second chances, and why he devotes some of his time to working with Prison Fellowship to mobilize churches to restore those impacted by crime and incarceration through direct ministry and advocacy.

Celebrating second chances

As part of that work, he and his church host a Second Chance Sunday every April—a special service designed to raise awareness about the stigma and barriers people with a criminal record face and inspire the church to be a place of welcome. This effort is part of Second Chance® Month, the
nationwide campaign led by Prison Fellowship to raise awareness about the barriers faced by men and women with a criminal record. Jon explains what the service is like:

I preach a message that’s related to this topic and this issue. We highlight different second chance ministries, organizations, and resources in our city and around the country that people in our church can get connected to. We allow our congregation to share their stories about how second chances impact them or their loved ones.

Jon says his church hosts this special service because “We believe that every man and woman, every individual, regardless of if they have a criminal record or not, has been created in God’s image and is worthy of dignity and respect and opportunity.”

And the annual observance of Second Chance Month, celebrated every April, is making an impact. “Second Chance Sundays have been huge for our church. It’s created a culture in which everyone feels free to truly embrace one another in Christ, as he designed us to be.”

Host your own Second Chance Sunday

Jon encourages pastors and church leaders to host their own Second Chance Sunday services. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Jon recommends that churches take advantage of Prison Fellowship’s Second Chance Sunday Church Toolkit, available online for free. “In this toolkit, there are sermon ideas, small group discussions, coloring books for children, all types of statistics and current data. I encourage you to sign up as soon as you can for that Second Chance Sunday Church Toolkit.”

By / Oct 14

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) upholds the belief that all men and women are created in the image of God and have the right to fair and just treatment under the law. God has established government as a legitimate authority to ensure justice for its citizens (Rom. 13:1). We believe true justice executed by the government not only punishes wrongdoers but also upholds the dignity (Gen. 1:26-27) of both parties and provides a path toward reconciliation for the offender. The ERLC is committed to advocating for policy changes that strengthen families and reintegrate past offenders to their communities.

Studies demonstrate that rehabilitation certificates improve housing and employment outcomes for the formerly incarcerated.1Jennifer Doleac, Strategies to Productively Reincorporate the Formerly-Incarcerated into Communities: A Review of the Literature, IZA Institute for Study of Labor Economics (June 2018),  The Recognizing Education, Employment, New skills, and Treatment to Enable Reintegration Act of 2019, or the RE-ENTER Act, allows federal offenders to request a federal certificate of rehabilitation. These certificates would assist offenders with obtaining occupational licensing, housing, and employment while protecting employers who hire these offenders. This is a practical way to extend a second chance to people earnestly looking to become a productive member of their community.

The RE-ENTER Act is an important step in increasing successful reentry for the formerly incarcerated. The RE-ENTER Act both assists former offenders when returning to their communities and incentivizes those currently incarcerated to participate in rehabilitation programs. These programs set inmates up for successful reentry by providing opportunities for education and job training while completing their sentences; affording them positive actions to take during their imprisonment.

The SBC’s resolution on “America’s Growing Prison Population” affirms policy proposals that assist past offenders with “reintegration into society, including transitional housing, vocational and drug rehabilitation, and family support.” This resolution is a reflection of Southern Baptist’s long tradition of caring for those in prison, or who are otherwise in need (Matt. 25:36). The RE-ENTER Act is consistent with Southern Baptists’ strongly held belief in the twin virtues of justice and redemption. 

The ERLC strongly supports the bipartisan RE-ENTER Act, and urges Congress to swiftly pass this bill. The RE-ENTER act provides much needed support for those reintegrating back into their communities. Congress should continue its efforts to pursue a more just criminal justice system by passing the RE-ENTER Act.

  • 1
    Jennifer Doleac, Strategies to Productively Reincorporate the Formerly-Incarcerated into Communities: A Review of the Literature, IZA Institute for Study of Labor Economics (June 2018), 
By / Sep 21

These days it seems like we are all searching for ways to pursue justice and reconciliation. We know God calls us to “remember those in prison” (Heb. 13:3 NIV) and “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” (Isa.1:17 ESV). Yet few churches have organized jail or prison ministries, and most evangelicals are uninvolved in pursuing justice reform

Why is that? The answer is complicated. Our justice system is exactly that—a system. It can be hard to figure out how to approach it. We may assume that, because of bureaucracy, prisons will be as difficult for us to enter as they are for prisoners to leave. We may also feel that prisoners are less deserving of our compassion than other people we might serve. 

However, God’s Word challenges us to work through those fears, challenges, and presuppositions to understand his heart for prisoners. So where do we begin? 

A free resource to help

For more than 40 years, Prison Fellowship® has been working to realize a more restorative justice system in this country, one that reflects the God-given value of each person. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. And we want to share those lessons with the church. That’s why we created Outrageous Justice®. 

Developed by Prison Fellowship’s subject-matter experts, Outrageous Justice is a free small-group study that explores the criminal justice system through a biblical lens, current events, and personal stories. Outrageous Justice is designed to awaken Christians to the need for justice that restores, then activate them to respond. Participants are equipped and encouraged to care for those affected by crime and incarceration—victims, prisoners, returning citizens, and their families—and to advocate for justice reforms. 

More than 61,000 people have walked through the study. Ninety-nine percent of participants surveyed after using the curriculum reported increased awareness about criminal justice issues. The majority also reported taking action to advance criminal justice reform—like Aaron Merritt and Ashley Erickson. 

Taking action

Aaron and Ashley are members of Mercy Hill Church in Minnesota. Like many churches in the U.S., the church hasn’t been able to meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of Aaron’s pastors approached him about leading a small group to make good use of the time. Aaron, who has been volunteering inside a correctional facility for two years with Prison Fellowship, agreed and decided to use Outrageous Justice

Ashley joined the group. She says, “I haven’t encountered a lot of people that have been incarcerated, and so I wouldn’t know what it was like. I could have an idea, but it would probably be very wrong.” Hearing firsthand from people featured in the curriculum who have committed crimes gave her a new perspective. “Humanizing them was a really big thing for me, rather than how we see [them] portrayed in media.”

Aaron enjoyed the connection to the Scriptures. He adds, “I really liked—and I think a lot of people in our group really appreciated—how action-focused it was. . . . There were actual action steps . . . from just doing email advocacy to . . . actually going to the prisons.”

By the end of the study, Ashley and Aaron were both ready to take one of those steps. “Ashley felt . . . compelled to get more involved and saw a vision for herself,” Aaron recalls. Ashley provides parent coaching to families in her community, something Aaron knew was applicable to prison ministry. “When [Aaron] mentioned that that was a possibility . . . to do in the prison, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. For sure,’” Ashley says. She has now completed volunteer training and eagerly awaits the opportunity to work with parents once prisons in her state reopen to volunteers.

Aaron just completed the training to become a Prison Fellowship Justice Ambassador. Our team trains Justice Ambassadors to advocate for cultural change and legislative reforms that advance proportional punishment, constructive prison culture, and second chances. “[Now] I’m going to start setting up meetings with representatives on some of the criminal justice initiatives that Prison Fellowship is going to be working on,” he says.

Learn what you can do

Our goal is to help you, no matter where you’re starting from, determine your response to the biblical mandate to visit those in prison and pursue justice. 

Outrageous Justice will help you better understand the criminal justice system in America and why it matters to every one of us. It will equip you to advocate for justice that restores. Most importantly, it will invite you to speak up on behalf of those who can’t, bringing redemption and hope to the criminal justice system—and to our country.

Download your free copy of Outrageous Justice today and encourage others to do the same.

By / Jul 6

It’s been dozens of days since Kerry Gant has seen her husband’s face. He’s quarantined in prison because his cell block is a COVID-19 hot spot.

“When you’re quarantining in prison,” Kerry said during a recent webinar with Prison Fellowship®, “it isn’t like quarantining in your house. It’s not like you . . . have access to all the luxuries of our nation. When you are quarantining in prison, that means lockdown. That means you’re in your cell for 23 hours a day.” 

That’s what life was like for her husband for a 21-day stretch inside his 6-by-9 cell. 

Isolated and anxious

COVID-19 spreads so fast behind bars because social distancing is next to impossible. There is rarely any personal space in prison. 

Kerry’s husband is just one of thousands of prisoners in this country that have been affected by the current pandemic. To date, 57,017 positive COVID-19 cases and 601 deaths among men and women living and working in prison have been reported.

A friend of Kerry’s husband who is incarcerated at the same facility recently got sick and presented a fever. Kerry’s husband recommended he contact an officer and report his symptoms. “Guys are hesitant to report that they have [symptoms] because . . . in some cases, quarantine means lockdown, and isolation means solitary [confinement],” Kerry says. “And then you are isolated and cut off from your family, and that’s the last thing that any person in prison wants.”

Her husband’s friend did report his illness and was later tested for COVID-19. He tested negative, but her husband didn’t hear anything for three days. During that time—and with all but one hour of his days spent in isolation—Kerry’s husband got so anxious that he had an anxiety attack. “He stayed up all night that night and wrote his last will and testament in case he didn’t make it,” Kerry recalls. 

A call to prayer

When prisoners are in lockdown, not much can be done for them by people on the outside. But there are some ways incarcerated men and women can stay in touch with their loved ones. 

Prison Fellowship is partnering with Flikshop and Stand Together to provide free messages and photos to hundreds of incarcerated men from members of their friends and family this summer. The messages of love and support will be sent on postcards, via U.S. mail. Flikshop has made it possible to instantly share selfies and special moments with any incarcerated person.  

Kerry says its hard to stay connected to her husband these days. “We find ways to connect via email, and we’re thankful for that.” (Some prisoners have limited access to secure email without internet.) “We read books together and do devotionals together,” Kerry added. “But ultimately, our phone calls are limited.”

What can’t be limited is prayer. God calls his people to remember the prisoner, and while we can’t be there in person for them right now, we can intercede for them. And we should. 

To help you pray more specifically for men and women in prison, check out our regularly updated map of how COVID-19 is impacting prisons in each state and our resource showing how many and through what mechanisms people have been released as a result of the pandemic. We also put together this guide for how you can pray for prisoners, prison staff, and their families during this crisis.

How you can remember the prisoner

Now, more than ever, it is crucial that the Body of Christ come together to care for those affected by crime and incarceration. That’s why Prison Fellowship has created these additional resources and action steps for you to prayerfully consider:

  • Use Prison Fellowship’s simple online tool to contact your federal and state lawmakers and request that they allocate funding to meet pressing needs within correctional facilities and limit the use of incarceration in certain circumstances.

Outrageous Justice® is Prison Fellowship’s free small-group study that explores the criminal justice system through a biblical lens, current events, and personal stories. While many places of worship are closed, this could be an excellent opportunity to lead or participate in an online exploration of God’s heart for justice and ways to pursue hope and restoration in our communities. Click here to download your free copy today. If you’d be interested in joining an online small group hosted by Prison Fellowship staff, you can find more information and register here.

By / Apr 15

It was eight years before Chicago gym owner Luis Centeno told his clients and workers he had served time. Why? “Because of the constant rejection,” he says.

Luis knew firsthand what it’s like to live in the shadow of a criminal history. Americans with a criminal record face 44,000 documented legal restrictions on things like where they can live and work. Luis tried getting a place to live, but he couldn’t get a loan or sign a lease because of his criminal conviction. He tried securing a job in construction, but learned he wasn’t allowed to work on most job sites. He was ready to start over, but seemingly no one was willing to let him.

This is why, every April, Prison Fellowship® celebrates Second Chance® Month—a nationwide movement to unlock brighter futures for approximately 70 million American adults with a criminal record.

We believe in second chances because the Bible reveals a God of second chances.

Second chances in the Bible

God is patient in giving us second chances—and not just once, but continually. Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” God is eager to show us mercy when we truly seek forgiveness for our sin (Joel 2:13).

We see this most vividly in God’s offering up his only Son—Jesus Christ—for the forgiveness of our sins. As the Apostle Peter explained, “[Christ] Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed'” (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus’ sacrificial death gives us a second chance at life with God.

Jesus’ ministry was marked by fresh starts and second chances for those whom many viewed as outcasts (Luke 4:18–19). He redeemed and elevated people others convicted and condemned, and he professed the unfaltering power of redemption in their lives.

A matter of justice

Just as God is in the business of giving second chances, he wants his people to do the same. God’s people are to offer second-chance opportunities because they have each been given the ultimate second chance in Christ. Proverbs also speaks of the virtue of unlocking second chances, saying, “It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11b).

While Christians are called to forgive those who commit wrongs against them, giving a second chance to those who have paid their debts is a matter of justice. Think of it like this: It would be unjust for a mortgage provider to require payments after a house has been paid for in full. In the same way, it is unjust for us—as individuals, businesses, and governments—to require returning citizens to continue paying a debt that has already been satisfied.

Wisely extending second chances

Extending a formerly incarcerated person a second chance does not erase their crime or invalidate the pain of their victims. A genuine second chance is a declaration that you are not holding someone’s past against them but still expect to see positive changes in their lives. The Apostle Paul exemplifies this approach in his instruction for former thieves: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Eph. 4:28).

There are situations where legal barriers are necessary. For example, it’s appropriate not to allow someone convicted of child abuse to work in a nursery. Even in such cases where there is a substantial link to protecting public safety, Prison Fellowship advocates that these restrictions should be anticipated at the time of sentencing, considered part of the defendant’s proportional punishment, and the defendant should be given notice during the trial process. In reality, many of the 44,000 restrictions placed on people with a criminal record are unrelated to any previous crime, such as preventing someone convicted of drug possession from being a licensed barber.

By wisely and compassionately extending second chances, we can help bring God’s healing into our communities.

What do you say about second chances?

Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we raise awareness about the challenges men and women face upon reentry as they seek healthcare, housing, and employment amid our ongoing public health crisis.

If you’re ready to join us in breaking barriers and unlocking brighter futures for the 1 in 3 Americans with a criminal record, here are two ways you can get involved in Second Chance Month:

  1. Host a Second Chance Sunday: Our toolkit can be used by pastors and churches who want to share a message or host a virtual service about justice and redemption and offer prayer for individuals, families, and communities impacted by crime and incarceration.
  2. Join our Road to Second Chances Virtual Prayer Meeting: This live prayer meeting is an opportunity to pray together and hear real-life stories of people searching living out their second chance.
By / Oct 29

As injustices and inequalities have been exposed, there have been increasing calls to correct the criminal justice system and our prisons. What might Christians have to say to minister to those in prisons? What is our calling toward and for the incarcerated? At Evangelicals for Life, Steven Harris moderated a panel with Thabiti Anyabwile, Heather Rice-Minus, and Julie Warren on these very issues.

By / Jun 17

Nationwide, April is recognized as Second Chance™Month. Communities observed Second Chance Month 2019 with a wide variety of events.

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, I joined a prayer walk called Road to Second Chances. There, I listened to brave men and women who once battled a cycle of addiction, incarceration, and brokenness but are finding their way forward into a new, brighter future.

Those who, by God’s grace, have climbed out of a life of crime or addiction often express deep gratitude for what he has done in their lives. But they still have mountains ahead of them. In America, people with a criminal record face lingering obstacles to housing, education, employment, and other things they need to lead full, productive lives.

Removing legal barriers

Prison ministry, like leading a Bible study behind bars, is a staple of mission-minded churches in America. A Barna poll commissioned by Prison Fellowship® found that more than 80% of Christians agreed or strongly agreed that prisoner care is important. Most practicing Christians in the same poll were also willing to say that people who have finished paying their debt to society should have a second chance to become productive members of society.

But more respondents struggled with the idea of removing the actual legal barriers to second chances for these same people

This disconnect is tragic. Roadblocks to a fair second chance make it much harder for people with a criminal record to successfully rejoin the community. Beyond widespread social stigma, people who have paid their debt to society face some 44,000 documented restrictions barring their access to education, jobs, housing, voting, and more—long after their official sentence has ended.  

Many of the restrictions are more punitive than protective and lack any obvious public safety rationale. For example, some jurisdictions prevent someone convicted of felonies from becoming licensed barbers. This is especially ironic because some of these same states have in-prison programs for barber training.

As we share the good news of Jesus Christ with people behind bars and their children, Prison Fellowship also advocates for restorative values, rooted in the truths of Scripture, to permeate new criminal justice legislation. We call for proportional punishments, constructive corrections culture, and second chances.

Prison evangelism and advocacy for second chances go hand in hand; we cannot logically separate them. If we believe that God calls us to care for men and women behind bars, should we stop caring about their prospects after they are released? If someone has decided to leave their old life behind, would God have us shackle them to it with a set of lifelong restrictions?

No life is beyond a second chance

At Prison Fellowship, we believe that no life is beyond God’s reach. Removing barriers to second chances is a tangible expression of this message of redemption. It’s also a matter of fairness and justice to allow our fellow citizens a pathway to productive, purposeful participation in the community. If returning citizens successfully rejoin the community, they are not committing new crimes or going back to prison. Then we all reap the benefits of safer, flourishing neighborhoods.  

Prison Fellowship launched the first Second Chance Month in 2017. Since then, we have been thrilled to watch the movement for second chances gain momentum. In 2019, the White House and 24 states issued Second Chance Month proclamations. More and more employers are pointing to the benefits of hiring returning citizens, too.

Creating a nationwide culture of second chances—and weaving it into the fabric of our communities and institutions—won’t happen in a single month of awareness. It will require ongoing commitment to change. But for our neighbors who have paid their debt to society, it’s vital that we do so. Together, we can affirm the God-given dignity of returning citizens and proclaim the power of redemption.

By / Apr 25

Have you ever made a decision a choice you would give anything to take back, a mistake big enough to separate you from the people you love? In the wake of those decisions, is there room for God’s grace to come in and make things new?

That’s the question raised in The Restoration Series, a new five-part film series released by Prison Fellowship®.

The Restoration Series follows the journey of Jonathan, a husband and father from Texas, and his young family.

When he was barely an adult, Jonathan made a choice that took him away—from everything he knew and all the people he loved.

"When you're that young, you don't realize that even the smallest decision can affect your life in a way that you'll spend a lifetime trying to get back," he says.

He missed the birth of his son. His daughter’s first day of school. Anniversaries with his wife. And all the everyday, precious moments in between.

After spending almost half his life in the prison system, Jonathan is coming home. He knows nothing will be easy. Nationwide, more than 600,000 prisoners are released each year. Two out of 3 will be arrested again within three years—a testament to the difficulty of making a successful reentry into society.

But Jonathan is resolved. He is leaning on his faith in Christ and the skills and lessons he learned in a restorative in-prison program to forge a new path for his life as the father and husband his family needs. He is ready to face his fears and enter the future God has for him.

Prison Fellowship, a proud partner of the ERLC, invites you to follow the moving journey of Jonathan’s family—and see what grace can do.

Watch the first episode of The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk here.  

By / Mar 12

Audrey still remembers the day she was called into her pastor’s office to receive some of the most discouraging news of her life. 

After becoming a Christian in prison, where she served time for a white-collar crime, Audrey returned to her community and joined a church with her husband Jeff. But members of the church leadership were uncomfortable with Audrey’s history, even though she had already paid her debt to society. That’s when the pastor told her she was no longer welcome.

“That was devastating. That experience sent me into a depression. I didn’t want to be out [of prison] anymore,” remembers Audrey. 

Removing obstacles to belonging

Thousands of people like Audrey come out of prison each year, seeking a place to belong in the community and in a local church. But while many congregations have vibrant jail ministries or participate in Angel Tree®, it can be harder to know how to respond to someone coming into the church with a criminal history. Where do you even start?

Prison Fellowship®, the nation’s largest prison ministry serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, spearheads Second Chance Month every April. Second Chance Month is a nationwide campaign to recognize the God-given dignity and potential of people with a criminal history and remove unnecessary obstacles to their successful return to the community.

In addition to hosting awareness events and advocating for reform, Prison Fellowship encourages churches to sign up as Second Chance Month partners. Participating churches will join congregations nationwide that are taking meaningful steps to welcome families and individuals touched affected by incarceration. All partners receive a downloadable Second Chance Sunday Toolkit, including sermon resources, a small group discussion guide, kids’ coloring activity, and action steps for further engagement. 

No more ‘permanent visitors’

For many people coming back from prison, being received by a welcoming church community can be a stepping stone to a successful, law-abiding future, filled with purpose. 

Audrey, who went on to join the staff of Prison Fellowship, oversaw an intensive biblical studies program for men and women in prison. She helped Anthony Ramirez, a young man who became a Christian in prison, get enrolled. 

"When you meet Anthony, he might seem kind of intimidating—lots of tattoos," Audrey laughs. "But being around him is truly uplifting. He is so passionate. When he starts talking about the Word, you just get excited about how God has turned his life around."

When Anthony returned to the community in 2015, he connected with Dave Clark, a pastor in California, who offered him a pastoral internship. 

“He was just warmly welcomed by our church family,” says Dave. “I’ve just seen him grow in different ways. Some of it is just exploring his gifts, serving, trying new things.”

Being welcomed into that church family felt like something Anthony had always wanted—to belong. At the church, the pastors mentored Anthony, who came to appreciate the importance of finding real community as a returning citizen. In the years since he joined the church, he has gotten married, gone to work for a Christian-owned manufacturing company, and continued to serve—largely as a result of finding a community that recognized his potential and helped him flourish. 

“We don’t want to make the formerly incarcerated feel like permanent visitors,” says Dave. “These are our brothers and sisters. These are our family members who are coming home.”

By / Feb 5

In the final days of the 115th Congress, a significant and bipartisan federal criminal justice reform bill was signed into law at the White House. The First Step Act, which sought both prison and sentencing reforms, enjoyed overwhelming votes in the Senate and House this past December. Yet the bill’s journey to passage was as unlikely as the coalition of conservatives and liberals who supported it.

Heather Rice-Minus of Prison Fellowship was one of the dedicated advocates whose work ensured that this bill became a law. Heather worked at the center of many of the instrumental negotiations on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Heather joined Steven and Jeff at the Leland House to recount the story of what Van Jones called “a Christmas miracle” for criminal justice reform.

Guest Biography

Heather Rice-Minus serves as vice president of government affairs at Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. She is a powerful, knowledgeable voice articulating the case for restorative criminal justice solutions. She is also the co-author of Outrageous Justice, a Bible study curriculum and book. A native of Virginia, Rice-Minus resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter.

Resources from the Conversation

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