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Prison Fellowship

Founded in 1976 by Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship offers love, hope, and direction to more than 2 million men and women incarcerated in America’s prisons and jails. A total of 100,000 volunteers, across the nation and in 108 countries around the world, reach out to give hope to the hopeless. Colson has visited more than 600 prisons throughout the U.S. and the world. Some of the Prison Fellowship ministries include:


The InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI): A revolutionary, Christ-centered, Bible-based prison program that supports inmates and ex-cons through their spiritual and moral transformation. IFI conducts programs in Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas. While the national recidivism (return to prison) rate is nearly 70%, in prisons with IFI/PF programs, it less than 10%.

Wilberforce Forum: Named for one of Colson’s heroes, William Wilberforce – an 18th century British parliamentarian who stood against his party in a campaign to abolish the slave trade – the Wilberforce Forum teaches clear biblical views of Christian principles on current events and controversial issues affecting everyday life. It produces print magazines, web information and Colson’s radio broadcast, BreakPoint, which is aired five times a week on 1,000 stations with an estimated nationwide audience of more than 1 million. Wilberforce Forum works to shape public policy on criminal justice reform, freedom of religion, and human rights.

Angel Tree: Founded in 1982 by Mary Kay Beard, a former prisoner and Prison Fellowship staff member, this ministry has given more than 7 million children of prisoners Christmas gifts in their incarcerated parents’ names. Youth summer camping programs and mentoring opportunities also are offered.

Inside Journal: A newspaper circulated exclusively to inmates, Inside Journal offers Bible studies, guidance on getting through a prison sentence and on life after release, as well as advice on parenting and maintaining a marriage from behind bars.


Break out, reach out, and get involved.


Prison Fellowship

1856 Old Reston Avenue

Reston, VA 20190

Phone: 703-478-0100; Fax: 703-478-0452

From The Gift of Passionaries...


Making a U-Turn in Life


“Life-changing events can take years, or a split second. For Joe Avila, 58, Prison Fellowship executive director for Central California and Nevada, it was the latter. In one horrifying moment in September 1992, screeching tires, shrieking brakes, smashing metal, and shattering of glass turned Joe’s world upside down. Joe was a family man, living in Fresno with his wife, Mary, and daughters, Elizabeth and Grace. He made a good living as a site acquisition engineer with Nextel and McCaw Communications. His neighbors called Joe a “good family man,” a man who helped his neighbors and the community, using his pickup truck to deliver supplies to the homeless shelter and games to church and school carnival fund-raisers. But Joe Avila had a dark side. He was an alcoholic – a bad one with five drunk driving convictions, one of them a hit-and-run. Joe says his work was very competitive: “It was a lot of the world’s stuff, and the heavy drinking went with it.” On September 18, 1992, while speeding drunkenly down a Fresno freeway, Joe Avila plowed his pickup truck into the rear of a car driven by a 17-year old high school honor student and cheerleader. The girl died. A classmate in the car was severely injured. Joe fled the scene but was arrested a few hours later at his home…”