Good Work Being Done in Prison Ministries

Recently I was invited by David Lane and a group from the American Renewal Project to tour a prison in Louisiana. We first met with Governor Bobby Jindal at the Capitol in Baton Rouge. We prayed together before leaving to visit the prison, and it was a powerful moment and a memory that will never leave my heart, mind, and soul. Gov. Jindal and his beautiful wife Supriya are

Praying with Gov. Bobby and Supriya Jindal

strong Christians, converted from Hinduism. God was present in that room that day, and we all knew it and felt it. We then went to the Angola Prison, which once was one of the bloodiest prisons in the country. Today that has changed because of Warden Burl Cain, who makes certain every inmate has the opportunity to know the transforming power of the Gospel.

Many groups are at work in Louisiana prisons today, including Dale Perkins’ Prison Ministry and the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge. Inmate Pastor Jerial Hardy leads services at the Assembly of God congregation at Angola Prison. Gov. Jindal has been a great supporter of criminal justice reform and prison ministry. Louisiana Prison Fellowship tells us that there are about 7 million adults under the supervision of state and federal correctional authorities in the United States, which means that 1 out of every 33 adults in the United States is on probation, in prison, or on parole.

Lunch at Angola with Gov. Jindal

Chuck Colson, President Nixon’s “hatchet man,” served time in a federal prison camp, where he was led by God to honor a promise he made to remember prisoners and their families. That promise grew into the world’s largest family of prison ministries, Prison Fellowship. They provide these shocking statistics: 95% of those incarcerated are released, 2 out of 3 will be rearrested, and this year 600,000 will return to communities. Today there are 2.3 million children in the United States who have a parent in prison. Here are their encouraging words: “Even the most broken people and situations can be made whole again. Through an amazing awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their neighbors, and the cycle of crime is replaced by a cycle of renewal.”

Another Louisiana prison ministry is the Innerfaith Prison Ministry in Lafayette, Louisiana. Russell and Christine Roseberry established InnerFaith in 1981, when God directed him into prison ministry. He says, “While in a Bible study the Lord asked me question according to John 21:15, ‘Do you love Me more than these?’” He said, “Yes, Lord.” Roseberry then found a treasure of souls in a prison–people looking for truth and desperately in need of an outside friend who would share in their failures and victories. “We believe it is a mandate from God to visit those in prison. When all is said and done our desire is to hear the Master of eternity say, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.’ Matthew 25:23.”

And isn’t that the hope of all of us when we reach Heaven, to be told, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”?

Hunter Carr