Reducing recidivismDealing with criminals is one of the necessary burdens of society. Our criminal justice system serves this purpose by punishing criminals according to the law and fostering a law-abiding culture.
Clearly, people who commit crimes should expect to be punished accordingly. Public sentiment often leans toward locking up criminals and throwing away the key. But the reality is that 80 percent of those who are incarcerated will serve their time, be released and return to our neighborhoods. Another sad reality is that 50 to 75 percent of those who are released from jails and prisons are re- arrested for the same types of crimes. This shows that incarceration alone fails to change behavior.
We should consider a third ingredient of criminal justice that addresses rehabilitation and re-entry into society. There is a proven program for dealing with offenders that results in an astounding 5 to 10 percent rate of recidivism. That program is Christian prison ministry. Jesus Christ permanently changes the hearts of offenders who genuinely follow him and are supported in a quality aftercare program. I have witnessed this transformation in the lives of Christian ex-offenders over many years of supporting prison ministry.
One Indy-area ministry with a national reputation and an effective aftercare program is Jesus Inside Prison Ministry. Pastor William Bumphus has developed an effective program that is worthy of our prayers and financial support. Visit www.jipm.org to learn more.