Who We Are

Prison Fellowship International is the world’s largest, most extensive network of Christian ministries working in the criminal justice field. Through compelling programs and practices, we pursue restoration and healing in response to crime so that offenders are transformed, relationships are reconciled and communities are restored.

Our Unique Approach

Prison Fellowship International’s work is accomplished in more than 120 countries on six continents through multi-denominational, indigenous and autonomous National Ministries – powered by more than 60,000 local volunteers. This grassroots presence enables ministry to prisoners, their families and victims in culturally relevant ways.

Mission

To transform the lives of prisoners, their families, and victims through a global network of ministry partners.

Vision

To break the cycle of crime and restore lives, worldwide, through Jesus’ love.

Ministry Footprint

Our network of affiliates currently spans more than 120 countries and continues to grow.

Where We Work

Core Values

Authentic

We mean what we say and prove it through our actions.

Accountable

We take ownership of our work and strive for excellence.

Growing

We are lifelong learners who value humility and grow from mistakes.

Relational

We are team players who believe people are more important than projects.

Proactive

We see problems as opportunities and we turn our passion into action.

History

Prison Fellowship International's story began in 1974 in a cell at Maxwell Prison in Alabama with a former politician who realized that he could work for the Lord, in or out of prison. It is a story of humiliation turned into glory, a story of unwavering faith and dedication, a story that has transformed the lives of millions. It is a story of international collaboration resulting in prison systems changed, cycles broken, hurt repaired, and families and communities restored. With you – our partners in ministry – the story continues.
1974

Chuck Colson's Incarceration

Charles “Chuck” Colson, former White House counsel to U.S. President Richard Nixon, pled guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months in a federal prison camp for his 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

Prison Fellowship Established

Colson established Prison Fellowship in the United States which is now the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform.

1979

Prison Fellowship International Established

Colson expands his vision outside the United States, founding Prison Fellowship International with representatives from ministries in the U.S., England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Bahamas with the purpose of developing and serving national Prison Fellowship organizations.

1983

United Nations Consultative Status Received

Prison Fellowship International receives special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. Since receiving this status, Prison Fellowship International has participated in meetings at the Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice regarding topics such as an international study on children in prison with their mothers, the adoption of guidelines on the use of restorative justice and an overview of the use of restorative justice around the world.

1996

Sycamore Tree Project® Launched

Sycamore Tree Project, a program designed to bring victims in prison to meet with unrelated offenders to repair the harm caused by crime and make amends, is launched worldwide.

2012

Colson Leaves Lasting Legacy

Colson passes away, leaving a lasting legacy through the work of Prison Fellowship International, Prison Fellowship and the more than 100 national Prison Fellowship ministries around the world that continue to touch the lives of prisoners, their families and victims.

2013

Children of Prisoners Program Launched

The Children of Prisoners Program, a first-of-its-kind intervention and sponsorship program for children of prisoners, is launched in Cambodia and Costa Rica. 

2014

The Prisoner's Journey® Launched

Prison Fellowship International partners with Christianity Explored Ministries to adapt curriculum and conduct initial volunteer training for a new, scalable in-prison program to help prisoners meaningfully engage with the Gospel. The Prisoner’s Journey is launched in Nigeria and South Africa. Bible League International also partners to distribute Bibles at The Prisoner’s Journey graduation ceremonies.

2016

Sycamore Tree Project Revamped

Sycamore Tree Project is adapted and rebooted as Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace® to allow for even more countries to engage with the program, and is piloted in two countries.

2019

Partner Prison Programs Launched

Prison Project Philip, a program adapted from Bible League International, is launched as an in-prison discipleship course to The Prisoner’s Journey. In partnership with the Grace and Mercy Foundation, the Public Reading of Scripture program is launched, allowing groups of prisoners to listen to the Scriptures being read aloud. 

2020

Biblica Partners with Prison Fellowship International

Prison Fellowship International partners with Biblica to provide scripture resources for the Children of Prisoners Program. 

2021

Children's Programs Updated

The Children of Prisoner’s Program is enhanced and rebooted as The Child’s Journey®PromisePath® a new, scalable modular child’s program providing a network of support around children of prisoners, launches in four countries.

2022

The Listener's Way® Launched

Through strategic partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing, The Listener’s Way, an in-prison program providing gospel films and audio Bible translations in each prisoner’s heart language, is launched.

Today

Continued Impact

Prison Fellowship International continues to serve prisoners, their families and victims of crime in more than 120 countries around the world, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives with the Good News of Jesus Christ every year.

Impact

Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report

This report shares the story of our year: one of great fruitfulness amidst great challenge. Despite obstacles like economic downturn, political turmoil and restricted prison access around the world, we achieved our most impactful year to date. Our national ministry members made this possible thanks to their perseverance through their storms to reach prisoners and their families. It is our hope that you will read our Annual Report and be inspired by the stories of transformation.

Read the Annual Report

Looking to support our mission?

If our mission, vision and values align with yours, consider partnering with Prison Fellowship International to transform lives and change the landscape of a broken prison system.

Donate Today