Church holds key to jail recidivism

By July 9, 2008

USA (MNN) — A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trust
finds one in every hundred Americans behind bars.

This high incarceration rate throughout the United States
significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public

According to the report, last year $49 billion was spent on corrections. That's up from $11 billion 20 years
before. In spite of the higher prison populations, rehabilitation
is failing. The national recidivism rate
is roughly 75%,with former inmates returning to jail or prison within three years. 

Crossroad Bible Institute's Dr. David Schuringa says it's a
startling statistic. "That's where we come in. Right now, we have over 40,000 inmates
who are in our discipleship program. It's been proven in scientific research
that if a person in prison is engaged in sustained study of God's Word and
being discipled, the recidivism rates can just plummet." 

Without discipleship, Schuringa says, roughly three-quarters
of prisoners return to a life of crime.

Participating in the discipleship program is easy. Inmates can request an Enrollment Form from family/friends, affiliated ministries, from CBI or the
prison chaplain.

Once enrolled, the studies begin arriving. The student then completes and returns the
lessons to CBI for correction. Trained volunteer instructors correct and return
the lessons to the student, along with personal letters of discipleship. Once a course is completed, the student is
awarded with a certificate and can choose to continue.  

The church plays an essential role in this venture because
local believers are the instructors who are equipped and empowered for this
work. "You can become a missionary
in your own home by correcting these Bible study lessons. We have a crisis
in our country with soaring incarceration rates. But the church has the key to
make the difference, and that is to bring God's Word into the hearts and lives
of people in prison."

Continue to pray that God stirs hearts to be involved with
this ministry. Pray for the funding to
support the growth. Pray too for more
Spanish-speaking instructors.

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