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Resource: Prison Fellowship Academy

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Prison Fellowship Academy is an intensive, biblically* based program that takes incarcerated men and women through a holistic life transformation process. Prison Fellowship Academy has combined correctional best practices and what they have learned over the past 40 years into a single program that leverages adult learning principles and a Socratic teaching style to assist participants in taking ownership of their own transformation. Program participants are guided by Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers to lead lives of purpose and productivity inside and outside of prison, by identifying the life-controlling issues that led to their incarceration. Jesse Wiese, the National Director of Program Design and Evaluation for Prison Fellowship Academy, states: “We want people in prison equipped to succeed before they exit the prison gate. We want people to have a chance to rejoin society as leaders, as peacemakers, as agents of positive change—we want people to be good citizens.”

Located in select prisons across the country**, the Prison Fellowship Academy program offers a full year of day and evening content to create lasting personal change so that people are ready to successfully rejoin the community. The program specifically targets criminal thinking and behavior, life skills, addictions, victim impact, and prosocial culture change, in order to break the cycle of crime and incarceration. Those who complete the program and are preparing for release will have the opportunity to connect to post-release resources and support in metropolitan areas.

The Prison Fellowship Academy program has proven to be successful. In a study conducted by the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, graduates of the Prison Fellowship Academy in Texas were found to be 17 percent less likely than their non-Academy peers to be re-arrested, and 12 percent less likely to be re-incarcerated, during the two-year period following their release from prison. In a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, graduates of the Prison Fellowship Academy had a recidivism rate of 0.8 percent, compared to the state average of 40 percent.

To learn more about Prison Fellowship Academy: call 1-800-206-9764 or visit For general inquires, email or write to Prison Fellowship at 44180 Riverside Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176.

* Men and women of any religious preference, or none at all, are allowed in the Academy, as long as they are willing to engage with biblically-based material.

**Prison Fellowship Academy plans to have one site for men and one site for women in all 50 states by 2026.

Researched by Crystal Poole, NC-CURE Intern

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