Restorative Justice & Prison Ministries

Restorative Justice is a different way of thinking about crime and our response to crime. Based on our understanding of the redeeming grace of God, Restorative Justice…
  • focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime and reducing future harm through crime prevention;
  • requires offenders to take responsibility for their actions and for the harm they have caused;
  • seeks redress for victims, recompense by offenders and reintegration of both within the community; and
  • requires a co-operative effort by communities and the government. 

There are myriad ways that churches and individual Christians can be involved in this restorative ministry. The following are just some of the ways you can be involved within the Central Texas Conference.



Get Into Jail Free – Arborlawn UMC’s
Life Changing Partnership with PEP
 


PEP (Prison Entrepreneurship Program) is a life-giving ministry that provides mentoring, education, case management and preparatory classes in business development for convicted felons currently serving sentences and committed to change.   Volunteer opportunities include attending monthly support sessions, mentoring, serving as business plan advisors, partnering in re-entry, Bible Studies, and a variety of other ways that support transformation.   Pat Gotcher, one of the coordinators of Arborlawn UMC’s partnership with PEP says, “The PEP Program is transforming lives, both those of the participants and of the volunteers.  Showing up is critical to these men.  Being there is redemptive for them and for the volunteers.”  Many volunteers are former executives or business owners, but volunteers come from all walks of life.  Kay Phillips, Arborlawn member and retired attorney says, “The men in the PEP units are changing their lives completely, finding new direction and creating a pathway to success when they are released.  They are so grateful for our interest in them.” 

PEP graduates have a 7% 3-year recidivism rate, compared to a national rate of 50%.  100% are employed within 90 days of release from prison, with a starting wage averaging over $11/hour.   

 The volunteers at Arborlawn UMC would love to share their experiences with you.  You can make contact  with them through Patrick Gotcher (pdgotcher@hotmail.com) or Rev. Bayard Pratt  (bayard@arborlawnumc.org).    
PEP’s website is www.PEP.org.


 

Social-Justice Agency Forms Partnership with Healing Communities
-General Board of Church & Society of the United Methodist Church
Trainings mobilize congregations to serve returning citizens as well as advocate for needed changes. Read More
 

 

 
Crime Victims Council is an outreach ministry of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, working with individuals and the community to restore hope, peace and justice following acts of violence. Its resources and energies are directed toward meeting the special needs of those who have been victims of crime by providing information and referral to agencies specializing in victim services. Crime Victims Council offers training for church and community groups in ways they can assist victims in their congregation or community by listening and encouraging, providing support as they attend court appointments, and helping with daily needs.

Read article, "Restorative Justice a Less Costly, More Meaningful Response to Crime" featured in the Star-Telegram. 
 
Attend Introduction to Restorative Justice Training September 12, 2014, 9am to 4pm, at UTA School of Social Work.  More information HERE.

A new vision for Crime Victims Council is to establish a Community Conferencing Center that will assist communities and individuals so that they can safely and effectively resolve conflicts themselves when provided with an appropriate structure to do so. Follow this link to learn more about Crime Victims Council and the people who make it all happen.
 

Kairos of Texas is an arm of Kairos Prison Ministry International, Inc. – the parent organization of a body of ministries operating as chapters that are located in many states and countries addressing the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women and children, and to their families and to those who work in the prison environment. Kairos of Texas operates as a State Chapter and serves in prisons and jails through a contractual agreement with the Warden and Chaplain of each unit. At present, Kairos of Texas is in 40 units (prisons & jails) across Texas. Learn more about Kairos and Kairos of Texas at kairostexas.org.