Faith-Based Program Promotes "Inner Freedom" For Arkansas Prisoners
Click here to read the article
TUCKER - Fifty-four inmates clapped and sang along with a band performing "Oh, Happy Day" at the Tucker Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction during the dedication Thursday of a new Christian-based program its proponents claim reduces recidivism rates.
Arkansas is the fifth state to implement the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a program of Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit Christian prison ministry started by Chuck Colson, who served seven months in prison in 1974-75 after pleading guilty to obstructing justice in a Watergate-related case.
Nationally, 67 percent of prisoners are arrested within three years of their release and 50 percent return to prison, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. In Arkansas, the recidivism rate is about 50 percent. Only 8 percent of InnerChange graduates are arrested again, said Norman Cox, vice president of InnerChange.
At the dedication, Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, said government has
a limited role in dealing with criminals.
"It can lock people up, but it doesn't have the power to free people up," he said. Programs like InnerChange "can introduce people to a real sense of inner peace, inner joy, inner freedom."
He drew "amens" from the inmates when he told them, "You may be more free than some of the people walking the streets of Arkansas."
This story was encouraging to see. It brought to mind the chorus from the Steven Curtis Chapman song, "Remember Your Chains":
Remember your chainsClick here to visit the InnerChange Freedom Initiative website from Prison Fellowship
Remember the prison that one held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone
posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 6/02/2006 09:31:00 PM