Charles Colson, former aide to President Nixon, served seven months in a federal prison camp for a Watergate-related offense. There, he became convinced the real solution to crime is found through spiritual renewal. This solution grew into Prison Fellowship International, the world’s largest network of prison ministries.
- 1976: Colson establishes Prison Fellowship in the United States.
- 1979: Colson expands his vision outside the United States, founding Prison Fellowship International.
- 1983: Prison Fellowship International receives special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
- 1994: Prison Fellowship International introduces Umuvumu Tree Project in response to the Rwandan Genocide.
- 1996: Sycamore Tree Project designed to bring victims in prison to meet with unrelated offenders to repair the harm caused by crime and make amends.
- 2012: Prison Fellowship International launches The Prisoner’s Journey and the Children of Prisoners Program. Colson passes away, leaving a lasting legacy.
- 2016: The Sycamore Tree Project is rebooted as Sycamore Tree Project–Justice and Peace and piloted in two countries.
- Today: Prison Fellowship International is serving prisoners, their families, and victims of crime in 116 countries.
What makes Prison Fellowship International unique from other international Christian ministries is our focus trans-denominational, indigenous leadership and local funding. This grassroots presence enables us to minister to prisoners and their families in culturally relevant ways.