Puritans, Baptists, and the Powers of Darkness - ISR symposium Apr. 18 featuring Crawford Gribben and Philip Jenkins https://t.co/akhaMludyU
Five Great Books on African American Evangelical History - Thomas Kidd @TGC https://t.co/rDfrYw545M
On Getting Churches Totally Wrong https://t.co/p47UX5ZQ9c Philip Jenkins via @anxious_bench @PatheosEvang
The Dancer and the Hero https://t.co/SZPw32RgTh Philip Jenkins via @anxious_bench @PatheosEvang
The Story Behind ‘Paul, Apostle of Christ,’ by @MeanCharlotte - cites the work of ISR's Rodney Stark https://t.co/eTF387hEUQ via @WSJOpinion
Puritans, Baptists, and the Powers of Darkness - ISR symposium Apr. 18 featuring Crawford Gribben and Philip Jenkin… https://t.co/hElvfwY8jj
Western Christians’ Responses to Denials of Religious Freedom - Paul Marshall https://t.co/5jPd5qjgXd @drpaulmarshall @CaesarsSword
The distinctive faith of South America's Quechua Catholics https://t.co/kwJ1vlhPa1 Philip Jenkins via @ChristianCent
China Bans Online Bible Sales as It Tightens Religious Controls https://t.co/s7hgJrokts @nytimes
In Bukhara, 10,000 Jewish Graves but Just 150 Jews https://t.co/C2XYgfJBkc @nytimes

Byron Johnson to Head Up New Behavioral Study to Explore Impact of Bible-Based Programming in Prisons

Contact: Lindsey Frederick, 703-554-8669

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2018 /Standard Newswire/ — Prison Fellowship International (PFI) today announced the commencement of a 40-month study to show the impact of a Bible-based program, The Prisoner’s Journey®, in prisons throughout Colombia, Nigeria, and South Africa.

There are more than 22,000 prisons worldwide, and more than 10 million incarcerated. Over the last 15 years, the worldwide prison population has grown almost 20 percent with the rate of repeat offenders soaring as high as 50 percent. Critics of contemporary criminal justice argue that by focusing exclusively on punitive justice, prisoners are not effectively rehabilitated and demonstrate greater difficulty reintegrating back into society and remaining outside the crime cycle upon release.

Prison Fellowship International developed The Prisoner’s Journey evangelism and discipleship program to address this issue by appealing to the internal transformation of prisoners as a rehabilitative method. First piloted in Nigeria and South Africa in 2014, it has spread to 30 countries, reaching nearly 400,000 prisoners, and is expected to reach 1 million prisoners by 2020.

“During the four years we’ve been running The Prisoner’s Journey we’ve found when a prisoner is transformed at a heart-level, his or her chances of thriving outside of prison dramatically increase,” says Prison Fellowship International Director of Prison Programming Rae Wood. “We receive regular reports from prison officials that prisoners are calmer and fewer fights breakout among inmates after they go through the program. This study will be a breakthrough for us in empirically demonstrating the program’s long-term impact on the individual, the prison culture, and the local community.”

The study will be led by Dr. Byron Johnson, a prominent expert on the scientific study of religion, faith-based rehabilitation programs, and criminal justice. In February, the research team will begin collecting baseline data to launch a comparative analysis of prisoner behavior and outcomes between prisons that implement The Prisoner’s Journey programs and those that do not. The study will also provide a prison cost-savings analysis of the program from reduced prison incidents, lower recidivism rates, and the prosocial benefits from family (re)engagement and improved employment for ex-prisoners. Johnson will publish his findings in relevant academic and peer-reviewed journals over the next three years.

ABOUT PRISON FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL:
Prison Fellowship International helps restore justice and healing in response to crime in more than 120 countries. For more information visit
www.pfi.org.

ABOUT DR. BYRON JOHNSON:
Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University and founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. He is recognized as a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, offender treatment, and recidivism reduction. His recent book, The Angola Prison Seminary: Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance, and Rehabilitation, uses survey analysis along with life-history interviews of inmates and staff to examine the impact of faith and the implications of religious programs for American correctional systems.