Administer Justice is excited to announce a new partnership with Prison Fellowship. Prison Fellowship was founded by Chuck Colson in 1976 following Chuck’s own incarceration from the Watergate scandal. Prison Fellowship helps churches come alongside those impacted by crime and incarceration, both in their pews and in their communities, recalling Jesus’ words not to forget “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23).
Part of Prison Fellowship’s emphasis is on children of those impacted by incarceration. Angel Tree, the largest national program impacting the lives of children with a parent in prison, serves hundreds of thousands of children each year through thousands of church and community organizations. Recently Angel Tree expanded their Christmas and Camp opportunities to ongoing support through Opportunity Kids.
Prison Fellowship’s vision is to create a collaboration of corporate, community, and faith-based partners working together to address gaps of opportunity and exposure for children with a parent in prison —resulting in improved real-life outcomes as Opportunity Kids move from vulnerable beginnings to victorious futures.
Vulnerable Beginnings – 1 in 50 children
Today, the parents of 1 in every 50 children in the United States are in prison with over half of those parents serving time for non-violent offenses. More than five million U.S. children have had at least one parent in prison at one time or another. As noted in a comprehensive review of research on children with incarcerated parents,
The arrest and removal of a mother or father from a child’s life forces that child to confront emotional, social and economic consequences that may trigger behavior problems, poor outcomes in school and a disruption or severance of the relationship with the incarcerated parent that may persist even after the parent is released from prison. (Focus on Children with Incarcerated Parents, 2007)
Victorious Futures – Every child’s possibility
Prison Fellowship and Administer Justice both believe clients are not problems to be solved but people to be loved. All of us are impacted by our past but none of us are chained to it. Jesus sets the captives free. Together we seek to break every stronghold so caregivers of children impacted by incarceration have the resources, support, and opportunity needed to lead God’s children into flourishing.
We began informally working with Prison Fellowship in Atlanta last year. A relative and caregiver of Jenny learned of Opportunity Kids and sought help from them. Jenny’s caregiver needed help with a power of attorney to be able to care for Jenny. Online instructions were confusing and somewhat contradictory. She was referred to a Gospel Justice Center at Cornerstone Church West End.
When she walked into the church on a Saturday morning she was greeted by a wonderful team of caring people. She was not judged for her lack of knowledge about how to protect Jenny or the circumstances that required helping Jenny. Instead she found a welcoming team that treated her like family. As she later wrote,
“I received practical legal advice, assistance with the next steps of my journey and most importantly prayer at the end of my visit.”
The attorney walked her through exactly what needed to be done to establish legal support for Jenny. She also helped her with other legal questions. Her prayers were a balm to this caregiver’s soul, which in turn blessed Jenny.
“Great professional legal advice with exceptional customer service. Administer Justice is an organization that cares and provides for the whole person- from legal to spiritual to physical needs and I’m grateful for their expert advice and kindness.” She wrote.
Forging Futures Together
With like-minded Kingdom values, Administer Justice looks forward to serving together with Prison Fellowship’s Opportunity Kids Collaborative in five major cities in 2023. Those cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. The partnership will invite Angel Tree churches in those cities to host Gospel Justice Centers, and will refer caregivers to those centers. If you know an attorney, church leader, or someone passionate about God’s restorative justice, please let us know.
With your prayers and support we will not forget the children impacted by incarceration. Rather we will provide opportunity to caregivers to pursue a hope-filled future.
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3