Frequently Asked Questions

General Inquiries

What is Prison Fellowship International’s phone number? 

Our phone number is +1-703-481-0000 

Where do you have Programs?

We have Prison Fellowship chartered members in more than 100 countries around the world.

I want to volunteer. How can I help?   

If you are seeking volunteer opportunities in the United States, please reach out to Prison Fellowship Ministries.

If you would like to volunteer outside of the USA, please directly contact the prison fellowship affiliate in that country.

Do you have internships? 

Please email our Human Resources department for more information. 

Where can I find Prison Fellowship International’s financial information?  

Financial accountability and transparency are central to who we are. You can find updated financials on our website.

What denomination is Prison Fellowship International?   

We are an interdenominational ministry focused on the transformative power of Christ. Ministries, members, volunteers all over the world come from the breadth of Christian expression. 

How can I get a job with Prison Fellowship International?  

Does your organization have opportunities for non-Christians?

Christianity is central to the purpose and mission of PFI. For this reason, it is our policy to employ only committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

What is your involvement in criminal justice policy legislation?   

For United States policy interventions, please reach out to Prison Fellowship Ministries

For policy interventions outside of the United States, please directly contact the prison fellowship affiliate in the country of interest.

Does Prison Fellowship International offer correspondence courses or bible studies by mail for prisoners 

While this is not an official program of Prison Fellowship International at this time, all of our national ministries are autonomously and indigenously led, so check with the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information

Can someone visit my friend or family member in prison? 

Our National Ministries are autonomously and indigenously led, meaning that each ministry will have unique programming and capacity. Please check with the National Ministry in your country of interest, they will be the best equipped to confirm if they are able to support this inquiry. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information

Does Prison Fellowship International have programs in my loved one’s facility?

If your loved one is incarcerated in the USA, please reach out to Prison Fellowship Ministries at info@pfm.org.

If your loved one is incarcerated outside of the USA, please reach out to the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information.

Can I get resources to my loved one?  

If your loved one is incarcerated in the USA, please reach out to Prison Fellowship Ministries at info@pfm.org.

If your loved one is incarcerated outside of the USA, please reach out to the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information.

I have a loved one in prison. Can you help them? 

If your loved one is incarcerated in the USA, please reach out to Prison Fellowship Ministries at info@pfm.org.

If your loved one is incarcerated outside of the USA, please reach out to the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information.

Can you help me locate a prisoner? 

Unfortunately, at this time, Prison Fellowship International cannot assist you in locating a specific prisoner.  

How do I get my Year End Tax Statement? 

Every year, tax statements are sent to donors no later than January 31. If you would like to receive an additional copy of your tax statement from this past calendar year, simply email donorsupport@pfi.org with your name and we are happy to send it by email or post. 

I would like to be removed from your mailing list. 

Please submit an email to donorsupport@pfi.org and we will take care of this for you.

How do I stop getting duplicate mailings? 

We’re sorry to hear you are receiving duplicate mailings. Simply email donorsupport@pfi.org and we will take care of this for you. 

How do I update my contact or credit card information?   

Updating your payment details is easy. You can call us and provide revised details securely by phone, or simply give a donation on our website and write a message in the text box that this payment is your revised payment for your monthly gift. You can also send a voided check to

Prison Fellowship International
P.O. Box 17434
Washington DC 20041

For security purposes, please do not send us any personal payment details by e-mail.

Can my online donation be part of the matching grant opportunity? 

We regularly have matching opportunities that you can support. Please email donorsupport@pfi.org what you are interested in donating to, and the amount, and we will be able to tell you what Matching opportunities exist to expand your gift impact! 

How do I make a donation in memory of someone?   

Make a donation on our website and in the text box below the donation form please enter your loved one’s name.

I want to donate my collection of gently used books 

We are not in a position to receive or send books overseas, due to the expense and navigation of the Customs process. 

How do I donate automatically every month? 

Monthly giving is an easy way for you to plan your annual giving and make a regular impact in the lives of prisoners, children of prisoners and their families. You can support a child of a prisoner by becoming a child sponsor. You can also support a prisoner through our Lamplighter Program. Or you can simply give a general gift which will be used where it’s most needed. 

If I make an online donation, how do I receive a receipt? 

Every online gift has a receipt that is immediately shared upon confirmation of your gift. Simply provide an email address and you will receive the receipt within moments of your giving. 

I’ve written a book for prisoners and want to donate copies to Prison Fellowship International   

We are not in a position to receive or send books overseas, due to the expense and navigation of the Customs process. 

I’d like to make a donation from my disability check.

You could make an impact in the lives of prisoners around the world by donating $15. This puts a prisoner through The Prisoner’s Journey course where they learn who Jesus is, why He came for them, and what he wants for their lives.  

About Our Programs

About our work

Millions of prisoners worldwide are locked away and forgotten. In a harsh prison environment, they experience further danger, isolation, and loss of identity. Without a plan of rehabilitation, 75 percent of those who re-enter society find themselves back behind bars within five years. They need inner transformation to break free from this hopeless cycle.

We seek to break the cycle of crime and restore lives, worldwide, through Jesus’s love. Through signature programs, PFI invites incarcerated men and women to experience transformation from the inside out by exploring topics of faith, responsibility, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Partnering with indigenous chartered affiliates in each country, PFI ministers to prisoners and their families in culturally relevant ways.

The Prisoner’s Journey   

The Prisoner’s Journey (TPJ) course is designed to transform the lives of prisoners from the inside out, by introducing them to a restorative relationship with Jesus, who was also a prisoner. The first phase of a longitudinal, third-party, empirical study of TPJ, conducted by Dr. Byron Johnson and a team of researchers from the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, is almost complete. The study focuses on the impact of TPJ in multiple prisons in two countries. Early assessments from the first phase of the study indicate that this program transforms prisoners’ lives: by increasing prisoners’ religious engagement, TPJ increases their motivation for identity transformation, helps them grow in virtue and reduces their aggression – all social indicators that they are on a path to successful rehabilitation.

The Child’s Journey   

The Child’s Journey is our comprehensive child sponsorship program designed to provide the essential care that the children of prisoners often lack while their parent is incarcerated. Through the child’s journey, enrolled children are paired with a caseworker that ensures that they live in safe housing with a loving caregiver, they have access to medical care and nutritious food, they are attending school with their needed fees and supplies, they receive spiritual guidance and resources, and they are engaged within their community.

PromisePath 

PromisePath is our newest children’s program that has three core areas of focus for intervention based on the highest-impact services as learned through our signature children’s program, The Child’s Journey. The three areas are: 

  • Improving access to, and participation in, education 
  • Improving important social connection through supportive relationships with local church volunteers, interaction with peers, and some form of connection with the incarcerated parent 
  • Improving spiritual and personal development through mentoring, discipleship, and connection with the local church community
  •  

 

Sycamore Tree Project   

Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace (STP), increases prisoners’ awareness of how crime harms victims, what is needed to make amends, and how to be peacemakers in the future. The program has a powerful impact on both prisoner and victim participants, and studies have shown that offenders who go through STP have significant changes in attitude that make it less likely they will re-offend once released. Using an eight-week curriculum, developed by Prison Fellowship International and based on the Book of Luke, a facilitator leads participants to consider concepts of responsibility, confession, repentance, forgiveness, amends, and reconciliation in the context of crime and justice. Offenders confront the harm—often for the first time—their actions have caused to others. Many victims report receiving a measure of healing.

Week of Prayer 

The Annual Week of Prayer is a global program offered by Prison Fellowship International and shared with ministries all over the world, who observe it throughout various weeks of the year. The week is designed as a special occasion for Prison Fellowship ministries to communicate and connect with churches and the community in order to focus on ministry among prisoners, ex-prisoners, the families of prisoners, and victims of crime. 

Angel Tree 

The Angel Tree® program and resources provide a powerful opportunity for National Ministries around the world to connect with children of prisoners and their caregivers. Participants show the love of Christ while helping to restore broken relationships between children and their incarcerated parents. 

Public Reading of Scripture   

Public Reading of Scripture provides access to a dramatized audio Bible reading. This audio Bible is played in a group setting and shares the Gospel where literacy rates are low. Each prisoner will also receive a new Bible of their own so they can follow along. This unique program is currently running in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Uruguay and Zambia. 

How do I start a Restorative Justice program? 

Any program that works with offenders and victims of crime can have restorative justice practices woven into it. We invite you to read our Restorative Justice Handbook to see how PFI weaves Restorative Justice into all we do.

Where are your programs located? 

We have a Prison Fellowship chartered members in more than 100 countries around the world. To see if a specific country is running our programs, check out our website at pfi.org/global-impact/where-we-work 

Child Sponsorship

Does PFI Remove Children from Situations Where They Live with A Parent in Prison?

While there are cases where children reside in prison with a parent, the issue of children in prison is not extremely widespread despite attention given to it by media. Women in prison make up less than 5% of a prison population, and a very small percentage of these will have children with them. Rarely, if ever, will men have their children with them. Different country systems have different rules on whether children can accompany their parent to prison, and most countries have adopted policies recommended by the UN on this. These situations are so limited, that it is not a major focus of our program reporting. However, in the few situations where we do find children living in prisons with their parents, in unacceptable conditions, our staff works to place children appropriately, or address their immediate needs.

Is It Hard for My Sponsored Child to Find A Church?

Our National Ministries work with local churches to help provide regular monitoring and services to the children and families in the program. Local church leaders are engaged to help lead Bible studies in many of the communities where our children live, and while church attendance is not a mandatory part of the program all caregivers are informed of the Christian roots and principles of the program and those who are working within the program. While church attendance is not mandatory, it is encouraged as part of the program.

Does Prison Fellowship Evangelize the Child?

Prison Fellowship is an organization with Christian values but does not require conversion to Christian beliefs in order for children or their families to receive the help they desperately need. Our organizational motivation is driven by the love of God and we work through the local churches to enhance the work to and with the children. Where appropriate, and if they child wants it, they provide religious counsel and nurturing.

What Happens If Only One Sibling in A Family Is Sponsored?

When one child is sponsored, the entire family benefits through food packs, family visits by the case worker, and being monitored for safety as a family. The entire family is also connected to their local church.

The benefits a single sponsored child received (in addition to the above) include health check-ups, education (school fees, uniforms, supplies), as well as the benefit of building a relationship with a sponsor who cares about them.

How Long Does PFI Support the Children?

At this time the program continues for sponsored children as long as they need it through the age of 18.

Does Your Program Help Keep Families Together?

Child eligibility criteria encourage caregivers to take an active role in ensuring the safety and health of the children. It is required that the child have a confirmed caregiver, please of residence, and guardian permission to be in the program.

Training is provided to both caregivers and children on health, safety, hygiene, and child rights.

Program staff help facilitate both phone calls and visits to incarcerated parents.

The Child’s Journey provides support for the entire family and helps build stronger family unites by showing caregivers support and encouragement too.

How Do I Write to My Sponsored Child?

It means so much to your sponsored child to receive a letter from you. You can send an email or drop a handwritten letter in the mail. Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Find your child’s name and ID number on the photo card you received and include it in the subject line of your email or write it at the top of your letter. Do not include your own address.
  2. Write an encouraging note to your sponsored child. What should you say? Talk about your family or community or share your favorite Bible verse. Your sponsored child will be delighted if you ask about their friends, family, or favorite activities. Important: Please refer to the Communications Guidelines you received for helpful hints as you write to your sponsored child.
  3. Email your letter to sponsorship@pfi.org or send them to
    Prison Fellowship International
    PO Box 17434
    Washington, DC
    20041
    USA

Write your name and return address on the back flap of the envelope, along with your child’s name and ID number. Our field staff with translate your letter, hand deliver it to your sponsored child, and help the child write back to you. Communicating with your sponsored child is a powerful way to offer hope and build an emotional bond that will mean the world to both of you.

What are the Goals of the Program?

The program goals are to ensure the safety, improve the health, advance the education, and build the spiritual resiliency of these children.

What is the Mission of the Program?

The mission of The Child’s Journey is to help children of prisoners overcome the hardships associated with their parents’ incarceration by offering them safety, health, education, and spiritual resources. A major focus of the partnership is also to strengthen the long-term sustainability of national ministry children’s ministry to ensure children can continue to benefit for many years.

What Specific Benefits Does A Child Receive Through Sponsorship?

Your regular support is used to meet the specific needs of your sponsored child. Every dollar is used prayerfully and carefully to help ensure your sponsored child:

  • Lives in safe housing and is protected from harm.
  • Can access education and school supplies, so they obtain the skills necessary for a bright future.
  • Maintains good health through nutritious food and essential medical care.
  • Receives spiritual and social support to help heal wounds caused by rejection and loss, and to help build conferences.
  • Has an opportunity to know and experience the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Has a direct relationship with a caseworker, who makes sure your sponsored child’s urgent need are met and is a loving constant presence in their life.

Your child is also invited to take part in local church and Prison Fellowship events, where beneficial relationships with children and families are build.

May I Visit My Sponsored Child?

Yes! Visiting your sponsored child can be an exciting and moving event for both of you. If you decide you would like to visit your child, please contact our international headquarters no less than three months in advance. Each national ministry has strict child protection policies in place, in accordance with country laws. In an effort to provide the highest degree of child protection, PFI requires background check for all adult visitors (18 and older) who are meeting any beneficiary of a national ministry’s The Child’s Journey Program.

Please contact donorsupport@pfi.org or call 1-703-481-0000 for more information on this process and to register your visit.

Can I Send Money Directly To My Sponsored Child?

PFI requests that monetary gifts not be sent directly to your sponsored child. There are several reasons for this.

Our national offices are not equipped to handle funds sent to them directly from sponsors, or to issue tax-exempt receipts. In some countries it is even against the law to have foreign currency in one’s possession. Also, some postal systems are unreliable, and there is no guarantee that the monetary gifts will reach the intended recipient.

Can I Send Gifts to My Child?

We currently do not accept gift packages, as the processing is expensive and time consuming. We strive to maximize the program services we deliver to your child and minimize any wasted resources. You are welcome to send a special monetary gift to your child, in addition to your regular sponsorship support. Sponsors often enjoy doing this for Christmas or birthdays. Our trained caseworkers work closely with the family to assess the best use of the gift to improve their conditions. Within 120 days, you will receive a short report and photo on how the gift was used. In order to maximize effectiveness of special monetary gifts and account for high transportation costs, we have set a $75 minimum gift amount.

To make a gift today, please mail a check to our office (include child ID number in the check memo) or call us at +1-703-481-0000.

What Happens If I Have to End My Sponsorship?

If you end your sponsorship, we make it a priority to match your child with a new sponsor. Although the child remains in our program, they may receive fewer benefits until a new sponsor is found.

How Long Will My Sponsorship Last?

Your constant support and love are essential to your sponsored child’s growth and development. Prison Fellowship International sponsors are not required to sponsor a child for any set length of time. Because the child’s needs continue after their parent is released from prison, we ask that sponsors continue their support so we can help the family adjust.

How Much Money Will My Child Receive?

Your gifts do not go directly to your sponsored child but are used by the Prison Fellowship program team in their country to provide essential support. A dedicated Christian caseworker will ensure your child receives or has access to safe shelter, nutritious food, medical care, and education, and opportunities to participate in events and activities that increase self-esteem, build hope, and improve interpersonal relationships. Prison Fellowship International strives to adhere to acceptable financial fundraising practices and is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

For more information and financial reports, please visit pfi.org/about/financials.

Will I Hear From My Sponsored Child?

Yes, your sponsored child will initiate correspondence with you. You will receive an introductory letter 6-8 weeks after you begin your sponsorship. Once you receive that letter, that is the perfect time to begin writing back. Your sponsored child will always respond to your letters.

PromisePath

How is PromisePath different from The Child’s Journey?

The Child’s Journey (TCJ) program is a more traditional ‘sponsorship program’, with a child paired with a single sponsor, who has the ability to correspond and witness that child’s growth and development over time. TCJ also features more intensive case management, and social worker engagement with the children. PromisePath is a volunteer-led, community-based program that is designed to care for children in three of the most crucial areas of need, including Education, Mentoring and Spiritual development, however there is no 1-1 sponsorship component to it. Supporters invest in activities and engagements that will help ensure children stay on a positive path. And, since National Ministry teams are able to generate support from local churches, it is easier for them to run and grow the program to reach even more than TCJ within a single country context. 

How many events are run throughout the year?

PromisePath has four major engagements with children throughout the year – an Angel Tree event, a back-to-school event, and at least two mentoring activities, ideally in their home or immediate community. Although there could be additional small gatherings at the local offices or in churches within the child’s village in order to distribute school supplies, scripture resources or provide mentoring activities, as each of the national ministries are able to further supplement these activities as they see fit.  

Where do the children / families gather?

Gatherings are primarily held at local churches, rented facilities or wherever the National Ministry can find the space to hold an event to accommodate the number of children they have in their program. 

How are mentors identified, vetted and deployed to help the families?

Mentors are identified through the National Ministry’s volunteer network, as well as through local church partnerships and relationships. They are required to undergo an application process, including a pastor’s recommendation, and they must sign the confidentiality policy which includes our child protection policy. Mentors complete an annual training before engaging with children, which includes child protection training, the training on the use of scriptural materials and mentorship best practices. National ministries then determine how Mentors and children are matched. 

Are there school visits? How do the teams confirm the children are participating in school?

No. National Ministry teams do not physically visit the schools. They confirm through their relationship with the parent and from information gathered during mentoring sessions. Rather than having the program staff pay the families directly for school fees and uniforms, in most cases, the funding is given directly to the schools. The school then arranges for the uniforms to be paid for with vouchers or they make arrangements with entities who provide the uniforms. While this does not absolutely ensure the kids are attending schools, it is another check to have in place. 

What exactly are “educational resources”?

The National Ministry partners are empowered to use grant funding to best provide for the educational needs of the children that they serve.  Some children may get school fees, some may get uniforms, and some may get both. All children in the PromisePath program will receive a school kit with school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, paper etc. 

Is an Angel Tree gift included in the $65 per child?

No. The Angel Tree event is hosted by the National Ministry as a way to register children into the PromisePath program. Gifts, games and activities during that event are all taken care of by the National Ministry team and other donations or strategic partnerships the ministry has. $65 per child registers the child into the program, ensures they receive necessary materials and funding for school, as well as access to scripture resources and the mentoring engagement. If the National Ministry has additional funding outside of the $65, they will determine the best way to provide additional items for the children.  

How does the field team confirm the children who are registered and that they are attending program activities?

The national ministries must take attendance at events and attendance records are presented at Prison Fellowship International audits every six months. The National Ministry teams are empowered to achieve the child-centric outcomes based on the requirements of the incarcerated parent needing to be part of the program, the child needing to be in school and their required participation in program activities and events.  

Do the families sign release forms?

Yes. National ministries must obtain informed consent from the child’s guardian in order for the child to participate in the program. 

Are there resources for the caregivers, or just the children?

Scriptural resources are also provided to Caregivers. Additionally, it is understood that Caregivers will attend the Angel Tree and back-to-school events with their children, giving them an opportunity to connect with other Caregivers who understand the unique and difficult situation that they are facing. We are also hoping that because mentors are coming from local churches, they will develop supportive friendships with Caregivers, and help them connect to a local church family. 

What is the size of the program and what are the upcoming countries to launch PromisePath?

Currently four countries are serving more than 2,500 children. In this coming year, we are looking to add five new countries and hope to serve 5,000 children. We have a pipeline of countries who have been identified; however, the launch timeline and locations can change based on a variety of circumstances. 

Do children have to actively have a parent in prison to participate, or can the parent be recently released?

The eligibility requirements state that a child has a parent who is incarcerated – this can include pre-trial detention and house arrest, if they are prevented from working. Children are ineligible for the program when the national ministry determines they no longer need support and/or upon graduation from secondary school. 

How many children are currently being served by each PromisePath country?

Each country is different. The total children being served across the four PromisePath countries is over 2,500.  

Regarding Incarcerated Individuals and Family Members

Does Prison Fellowship International offer correspondence courses or bible studies by mail for prisoners 

While this is not an official program of Prison Fellowship International at this time, all of our national ministries are autonomously and indigenously led, so check with the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information

Can someone visit my friend or family member in prison? 

Our National Ministries are autonomously and indigenously led, meaning that each ministry will have unique programming and capacity. Please check with the National Ministry in your country of interest, they will be the best equipped to confirm if they are able to support this inquiry. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information

Can you help me locate a prisoner? 

Unfortunately, at this time, Prison Fellowship International cannot assist you in locating a specific prisoner.  

What help is available for former prisoners? 

For re-entry resources in a specific country, please reach out to the National Ministry in your country of interest. Check out our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information

Can you recommend an attorney? 

Prison Fellowship International is unable to provide legal advice. 

Do you have a pen pal ministry?   

While this is not an official program of Prison Fellowship International at this time, all of our national ministries are autonomously and indigenously led, so check with the National Ministry in your country of interest. Look at our website for a complete list of affiliate countries and their contact information.

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