Wednesday, February 20, 2008
According to a press release posted on the Religion News Service Website, the current record-high global prison population and the costs of incarcerating so many people justify the existence of Kairos Prison Ministry International, Inc., a non-profit ecumenical prison ministry based in Winter Park, Florida. Kairos is the parent organization of several ministries addressing the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women and children, while also ministering to the families of incarcerated individuals and to those who work in the prison environment.
Kairos is widely recognized for its success in changing attitudes and life-long behavior in men and women incarcerated in jails and prisons in the United States and is countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua where the ministry has a presence. According to the RNS report:
Kairos leaders work with prison officials to identify key inmates, most often those considered leaders among their prison populations, to participate in a Kairos three-day weekend. The inmates work in small groups with trained Kairos volunteers participating in discussions, meditation and ministry education. After their weekend experience, Kairos participants receive on-site follow-up visits with Kairos volunteers. The Kairos participants also are encouraged to meet in small groups for continued growth and support on a more frequent basis.
In addition to its core program of prison ministry, Kairos offers programs for family members and loved ones of the incarcerated (Kairos Outside) and programs for youthful offenders (Kairos Torch).