Media Release by County Corrections Gospel Mission
Date: September 14, 2011
Embargo: Immediate Release
Contact: Chaplain Jack Crans, 610-322-3392(m) or 610-942-9142(w) firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Chester County Churches called to assist inmate-fathers
Chester County Prison Chaplain Jack Crans is seeking churches willing to assist in the prison and in communities to address the issue of fatherlessness by coming alongside male and female prisoners, ex-offenders who will be returning to Chester County homes, and their families.
More than two dozen male prisoners at Chester County Prison are part of the Family Reentry Initiative to help mitigate the issue of fatherless in families. They will be released over the next several months, and will need continued assistance and discipleship within their communities and families.
Malachi Dads, the mentoring program at the core of the Family Reentry Initiative, was developed in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 2003 by Awana Clubs International, a long-time Christian ministry focused on helping churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth among ages two to 18. Burl Cain, warden of the largest maximum-security prison in the U.S., known in the late 1960s as the “Bloodiest Prison in the South” due to inmate violence, invited Awana officials to speak to the prison’s fellowship of Christian men in 2003. They found that inmates wanted to see an evangelism and discipleship program established for their children. (Warden Cain recently visited the Chester County Prison to encourage prison authorities and community volunteers already involved in the Chester County initiative.)
Awana subsequently started Awana Lifeline, designed to provide spiritual, parental, vocational and educational training for inmates; a second program to provide churches in urban neighborhoods with training to start Awana programs for children of inmates in their areas; and a year-round Lifeline Handbook Program that helps fathers and their children work through Awana Bible curriculum in tandem and create a long-distance parent/child bond.
The Chester County chaplain is seeking churches, faith-based organizations and individuals to support this initiative to help create a strong family re-entry support network, both within and outside the prison.
This initiative includes:
• the male prisoner project currently underway in the Chester County Prison Work Release Center that is hoped to be extended to the main prison. Some 60 children ultimately will be impacted by this current activity. Both male and female volunteers currently are involved in this initiative, with women volunteers also receiving training for
• A companion initiative for women prisoners, 90% of them being mothers, that is expected to start soon; and
• Extension of the initiative in the future to general fatherless family populations within Chester County communities.
Churches and individuals interested in the family reentry initiative and future training should contact Chaplain Crans at email@example.com. Information on the initiative, now in place in 30 prisons across the country, is available at www3.awana.org/lifeline and here.