Prison Fellowship International currently has partner ministries in 29 countries throughout Europe and Central Asia. The region, which stretches from Portugal, across Europe and into the Russian Federation, represents a complex tapestry of ethnicities, cultures, and subcultures. Here, atheism and pluralism have emerged dominantly against the fading backdrop of Judeo-Christian tradition. As a result Governments and authorities have increasingly adopted secular approaches to their social and criminal justice systems.
As an ecumenical, multi-ethnic organization, Prison Fellowship International is uniquely equipped to reach and advocate on behalf of prisoners within the diverse social and political environments throughout this region. Even among the most developed countries here, standards for prisoner care often begin and end with humane physical treatment in compliance with international law, while the spiritual needs of those incarcerated are neglected. In poorer areas, justice systems often fail to achieve even the most basic standards, and prisoners are exposed to harsh living conditions while their families and victims are often ostracized and disadvantaged within their communities. PFI’s national ministry partners step in to provide prisoners, their children and families with holistic care inspired by the reality that every individual, regardless of circumstance, bears the sacred Imago Dei.
Today, there are over 9,700 volunteers working with PFI’s partner ministries throughout Europe and Central Asia. Teams are indigenously led, strategic, and creatively navigating the challenges in their countries. Across the region, the ministries are cultivating dynamic partnerships with fellow NGO’s and government agencies to promote restorative justice practices and to reduce recidivism. As a result of these efforts, thousands of prisoners throughout Europe and Central Asia are trading hopelessness for purpose found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in turn, transforming their own families and communities.
“Because He opened my eyes for the truth […] I will walk with Christ forever – now and in the coming age.” – Ivan, 25 (TPJ, Bulgaria)
Spreading the Gospel
- 39 prisons running The Prisoner’s Journey program
- More than 13,500 graduates
- More than 53,000 prisoners reached
- 26 National Ministries running Angel Tree programs
- More than 45,000 children of prisoners served through programs
This is just a snapshot of the many programs and initiatives taking place all over the region. From Bible studies to aftercare, children’s camps, halfway houses and other important interventions, Europe and Central Asia’s ministries engage in many critical aspects of prisoner’s and their families lives.