In 2014, Prison Fellowship International launched The Prisoner's Journey, an eight-week course on the book of Mark that aims to draw people to a knowledge of Jesus and to a recognition of what He is calling them to do.
"At the end they graduate," details Prison Fellowship International spokesman David Van Patten. "Of those who take the course, about 75% go on into a discipleship program, which is obviously a really clear indicator to us that they've come to the conclusion that they want to follow Jesus."
More than a million prisoners have been reached, and nearly half have already graduated the program, with 140,000 already doing so this year.
Comparing prisoners who took the course to a similar group who had not, research conducted by Baylor University revealed that the study helped the former group shed their criminal identity and embrace a new meaning and purpose in life.
"This identity transformation then leads to what they observed as a growth in a set of virtues like gratitude and forgiveness and those kinds of positive virtues, and a reduction in negative feelings and aggressive behavior," Van Patten relays.
The program is currently being used in 39 countries, and PFI aspires to engage 20% of the 15 million prisoners worldwide in hopes of changing prisons from within and giving prisoners a biblical outlook to take with them when they are released.