Prison Fellowship Ministry Launches ‘Second Chance Month’ to Help Ex-Convicts

Casey Irwin, a formerly incarcerated woman from Minnesota, speaks at the launch of the first “Second Chance Month” in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

A national prison ministry is joining forces with conservative and liberal groups to call on church leaders and politicians to give former prisoners a second chance at normal lives.

“We believe people with a past can rise from their failure, repay their debt and restore and heal our communities that are affected by crime,” said Craig DeRoche, senior vice president of Prison Fellowship, as he launched the first “Second Chance Month.”

“There is no such thing as a throwaway person and by granting second chances to those who have earned them we will be contributing to the restoration of families, communities and our nation.”

Speaking Thursday (March 30) at the National Press Club, DeRoche and representatives of the NAACP, the Heritage Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and Koch Industries called for a reduction in the more than 48,000 statutes that limit the rights of people with a criminal record.

About 65 million Americans – or 1 in 4 adults – have a criminal record that can lead to reduced access to jobs and education and a restriction from voting.

Casey Irwin, a former prisoner who served time for drug possession and assaulting a police officer, spoke at the news conference about how ministries helped her with job leads, housing and transportation.

“I made poor choices,” said Irwin, who now works as a manager of a KFC restaurant and attends a megachurch in Minnesota. “I’m still a normal human being and I need a place to eat and I need a place to sleep and I need a place to work.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service

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