Ex-Prisoners Find Hope In Christ, Desperate For Redemption


In a cancel culture, grace and mercy often fall by the wayside. However, Heather Rice-Minus, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship, a ministry serving the incarcerated and their families, believes everyone deserves a second chance.

That’s why her organization launched Second Chance Month in 2017, an effort to support men and women with a criminal record looking to restart their lives on a positive footing.

Each year, Prison Fellowship designates April as a time of reflection and action to take steps that help formerly incarcerated people overcome roadblocks to success.

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With bipartisan appeal, both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have issued proclamations in support of Second Chance Month.

And Rice-Minus said every Christian should openly herald this message.

“If we believe in the message of grace, if we believe in the message of redemption, then we have to believe it, not just selectively, but for everyone,” Rice-Minus told CBN News. “And, so, that includes people who are in prison.”

She said this doesn’t mean everyone will definitively make positive change, but that Christians are “supposed to believe that, through Christ, anyone can change.” This, she said, is one of the most encouraging elements of the Gospel.

“One of the most beautiful messages of the Gospel is that we don’t earn it,” Rice-Minus said. “It’s all through the power of Christ. And so, I think it’s a great time of year, coming off of Easter, to remember that the power of the cross is there for everybody.”

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Rice-Minus said there are 70 million Americans with a criminal record, noting this “pervasive problem” touches millions of Americans’ lives.

“A lot of times people complete their punishment in prison, or getting their criminal record and community supervision — whatever it may be … and they think they’re done,” she said. “But a lot of times people come out and they face a lot of challenges.”

These challenges include restrictions on housing or employment and struggles to get a job.

“We want people to no longer commit crimes, but then we make it really hard for people to earn an honest living and provide for their families,” she said. “And there’s just a lot of stigma that comes with having a criminal record.”

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Rice-Minus said employers should spend more time examining a person’s attempts to rehabilitate and not simply ban them because of their pasts. Over the past few years, she said Prison Fellowship has seen some positive moves in this direction with the creation of the Second Chance Business Coalition.

Walmart, Google, and other companies have stepped in to participate, proclaiming they want to hire people with criminal backgrounds who have positively changed their lives.

Continue reading on Faithwire.

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