When Charles W. Colson went to prison in the 1970’s, he embodied the corruption and ruthlessness Americans had come to loathe about the Watergate scandal. He emerged from prison a changed man, and dedicated the rest of his life to sharing his newfound faith and hope with those still behind bars.
The ministry Colson founded, Prison Fellowship, has been a catalyst for change in the lives of countless inmates around the world. At times, though, the same kinds of materials that changed Colson’s life are prevented from reaching inmates by bureaucracy or claims of “separation of church and state.” California-based Pacific Justice Institute has gone to court on behalf of prison ministries blocked from reaching inmates for reasons that often are as simple as prison officials’ unwillingness to process extra mail. PJI is currently litigating a federal case in California involving these issues.
“Of all the things men and women in prison need, resources with the potential to change their lives for the better should surely be at the top of the list,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. “The dedicated prison ministries and chaplains we assist are doing vital work with eager, willing participants. They don’t need or want any government handouts—they just need it to get out of the way.”