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The goal of this study was to explore the practice of reconciliation as a means of preparing Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates for reentry into local faith communities. The project utilized creative components such as painting, creative writing, and journaling, along with traditional teaching methods to develop a process of reconciliation for preparing inmates to integrate within society and faith communities. This ministry focus paper was conducted in the context of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago.
Through an examination of Scripture, this study identifies that reconciliation is a messy process. The process of reconciliation is not scientific. Reconciliation is more like “art” that really cannot be mastered; but through persistence, patience, adversity and labor an artwork of great value can be created. A literature review was conducted which revealed the effects that reconciliation has on reentry. An emphasis is placed on how incarceration impacts inmates’ behavior, spirituality, and relationships, such as self, God, family, and communities of faith.
This Ministry Focus Paper covers the development of a sixteen-week program: Process and Practice of Reconciliation. This program targeted a diverse group of inmates, with disparate needs, including race, release dates, religious preference, however, the common theme was that the inmates were interested in reconciliation as a means of preparing for integration into society. The study concludes that this program, specifically in the areas of reconciliation with self and God, was successful in preparing inmates for reentry, but reconciliation of family and faith communities needs further development. However, this program can be adapted within the broader Church community to connect and support reentry initiatives.
Content Reader: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Leshon, Michael A. Jr., "A Process for Integrating Ex-Offenders into Local Faith Communities through Reconciliation" (2014). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 151.