Pray for wisdom on how to engage


Form an inter-church monthly prayer team. (Contact Jani James.)


Prayer List


Youth – Suspended, in the foster-care system, in the streets, in detention, re-integrating.


Schools – Improved, diverse and culturally-equitable instruction; changes in discipline policies district-wide; support for teachers and students in special education; the breaking of school-to-prison pipeline for students of color.


Community & Law Enforcement – For neighborhoods to have wisdom and compassion towards those incarcerated and their families. For police safety, accountability to neighborhoods, and understanding with communities of color.


Adults – For those struggling with addiction, poverty and homelessness; For those convicted of crimes, (low-level to violent/sex crimes); For the families, children of those who are incarcerated; Pray for those re-integrating into society, (for jobs, housing, healthy community);


Pray for churches to have open hearts and wise actions to serve adults formerly convicted of even the worst of crimes.


Facilities, Staff & Elected Officials – Pray for judges, bailiffs, defenders, prosecutors, correctional officers, counselors, wardens. Pray for systematic change from punitive focus to transformative programs and policies.


Pray for staff at the King County Juvenile Detention Center, SCORE in Kent, Monroe Correctional Complex, Clallum Bay Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center for Women.


Elected Officials & Policy – Pray for decision-makers who will deliberate over employment and housing policies that marginalize those who re-integrating; pray for those deliberating over use of funds for building new facilities and new programs.





  • When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 

  • Reading the Bible with the Damned  by Bob Ekblad 

  • Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Greg Boyle 

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander 

  • Race Matters by Cornel West 

  • Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated by Nell Bernstein 

  • Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity by Ann Arnett Ferguson 


Q Commons / Ted Talks





  • See the Faith Action Network site for further information   


Research Online        



Small Group


As a small group consider attending a meeting: 

Attend & Pray For-  

  • School PTA Meetings –In most districts, a major point of discussion in school meetings is over unfair disciplinary policies and breaking the School to Prison Pipeline. Spending time listening to families, and volunteering in study hall/detention helps to build strong bonds with youth that are often expelled or find themselves in juvenile detention.    

  • Police Precinct Meetings – Listening to law enforcement and neighbors talk about safety and hot spots in your neighborhood provide opportunities to serve in the community—especially in areas where youth may need positive activities in tough areas. 

  • Block Watch/Community Council Meetings – Listening to neighborhood councils also provide opportunities to hear about the needs of the community and ways to build community for youth and families in your area. 

  • Sit in Court/Attend Hearings - Church members are welcome appreciated at King County Juvenile Court.   

  • The Village of Hope Seattle – Listen to families and community members express their hopes, vision, needs. 

  • “The If…Project”  - Host an “If…” workshop at your church, to hear the voices of individuals who have spent time in the system. 



Form a Partnership


Form a Partnership - Directions


  • Spend a season of time in prayer and research of organizations directly involved. (See Pray and Learn More Links) 

  • Study the Word. Reflecting on God’s heart for young people, those in prison, and for reconciliation for those guilty of the worst of crimes: 

  • For youth: 1 Sam 16; Psalm 119:9-16; Proverbs 3-7; Matthew 19:13-15; 2 Timothy 

  • For those incarcerated: Genesis 39:19-21; Jeremiah 37-39; Daniel 6; Matthew 11:1-4, 25: 31-46; Philippians 1:12-14; Hebrews 13:3 

  • For reconciliation: Gen 4: 8-16, 50:15-21 2 Samuel 9; Psalm 51, 119:71; Isaiah 30:8-22, 53;  Luke 15; Acts 9:10-19; Ephesians 2: 11-22; Philemon; 1 Timothy 1:15    

Reflect on where the Lord might be leading your church. Are there believers drawn to: 

  • Keeping young people off the streets and out of prison?  (Preventative Ministry) 

  • Loving on individuals incarcerated and their children/families?  (Prison Ministry) 

  • Forming a community around individuals re-integrating into your community?  (Reconciliation Ministry) 


Form a Partnership - Directions


  • Appoint 2-3 people passionate about these issues to attend public meetings around keeping youth off the streets and/or incarcerated. 

  • Attend Village of Hope Seattle, an organization that is devoted to serving families affected by poverty, gang violence, and incarceration.

  • Consider partnering with Communities In Schools, an organization that is already present in schools that could use church-support. 

  • If there is no CIS in your area, contact your local schools directly to volunteer as tutors and mentors in study hall, detention, special education.  (See Our School Partnership Page for more information)


Prison Ministry  


  • It is difficult to volunteer in prisons individually, and even as a small group. Yet as a church there are ways to volunteer directly, and to build redemptive relationships with individuals/organizations already involved in the prisons. 

  • Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project: Sponsor classes and trainings (chemical dependency, parenting, and advocacy) that IMAP provides to incarcerated women throughout the region. Attend and/or host trainings at your church. Contact Lillian Hewko at Lillian@defensenet.org 

  • Prisoners for Christ: This ministry provides spiritual support in the form of Bible studies, a pen pal program, and a publication for the imprisoned. Prisoners for Christ offers a free training that equips volunteers to serve. Sign up is on their website, www.prisonersforchrist.org 

  • Black Prisoners’ Caucus: This organization supports African American and low income communities of color who are disproportionately affected by incarceration. Churches can attend their community meetings, but also sponsor classes taught by persons incarcerated. Activity sponsors attend the activities in the prisons and churches can support an inmate as he/she works to teach others. Contact is either bpc@blackprisonerscaucus.org; or villageofhope.seattle@yahoo.com


Reconciliation Ministry


  • It is vitally important to surround individuals re-entering the community with the love of Christ by assisting them with jobs, housing, a compassionate community, and other practical needs. The grace of God is meant to extend not just to those previously guilty of low-level offenses, but also serious crimes that keep them marginalized after incarceration. Partnering with organizations is a great way for churches to help serve this population. 

  • Divine Alternatives for Dad’s Services: DADS ”assists fathers with resources to help them develop a sense of self, family and community responsibility through education, effective parenting, mentoring and partnering.” Church members can attend DADS’ weekly meetings and build relationships with men who have much to offer and who need a church community to support them. Contact Marvin Charles at marvinpastor@msn.com  

  • Hearts of Hope: This organization is a “faith-based organization that provides strong family support during and after the incarceration of a loved one.” Hearts of Hope meets twice a month for a dinner and assistance with housing, relational support. Churches can help sponsor this organization and come around individuals who have practical needs a congregation can help with. Contact Diane Anderson-Bidon at dianeea@overcomercc.org




Visitations - Directions 


  • Familiarize your small group or church with the application process for volunteering in prisons.  This can take time, and it is recommended to access these facilities as a small group, rather than individually. 

  • For most correctional facilities, the application process begins through the Department of Corrections; for the King County Youth Detention Center. 


Visitations – Small Groups 


  • Church members are welcomed to attend hearings for prayer support and to establish a faithful presence amongst staff, officials and those charged of crimes. 

  • Set up a regular routine of visitation for your team, and express inquire with staff and inmates as to what would be helpful activities and resources for them. 

  • After a season of time, set up a pen pal relationship with friends who are incarcerated.






Write Letters


There are items of legislation that are up for much debate and possible ratification into law. The session has ended for 2015, but these items will be brought up again in 2016 for a vote. Prayerfully discern where you or your small group stand on these issues. If the Lord leads you, take some time to write an elected official on these current legislative items. 



Read up on reforming the “3 Strikes Law”  


Read Up on “Ban the Box” Movement to Change Hiring Practices for Formerly Incarcerated  


Write a Letter of Support 


The Faith Action Network site has more information: www.fanwa.org 

Host a Support Group


This section is focused on allowing our churches to be places for children, families, those previously incarcerated to share their stories and teach the community.   


Staying faithful to our Christian belief that all people have an inherent dignity as image bearers of God, it is important to look for opportunities to learn from and recognize the worth of people affected by incarceration. No matter the crime, a person in the system is just as broken and dignified as any person without a criminal record. These are not people who are “offenders”, “prisoners”, or “ex-cons”—but friends and neighbors.    


Host a Support Group – Church


  • Host a community meal advertised to your congregation, neighbors, local halfway houses and work release programs. (To find a work release program near you http://doc.wa.gov/facilities/workrelease/default.asp). Invite those who have spent time in prison, or re-integrating to tell their stories. 

  • Host a Restorative Justice group that allows various community members to talk about tough issues in a peaceful way, forgive and reconcile opposing parties. Trainings are available, reach out to the local Seattle chapter for RJ groups at https://www.facebook.com/SeattleRestorativeJustice;  

  • Host a Genesis Group, which is focused on recovery from addiction and is very important for individuals re-entering after spending time in prison. For more information and to receive more training, see http://www.genesisprocess.org/genesis-process