Prison Fellowship Ministries
The information on this page was last updated 11/28/2022. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]
Prison Fellowship's mission is to "Restore those affected by crime and incarceration." Prison fellowship staff and volunteers are in hundreds of correctional facilities each week sharing the gospel, spreading hope, and teaching life-changing classes. Through our evangelism events, we introduce incarcerated men and women to a new future in Christ and nurture their spiritual growth with Bible studies and intensive discipleship courses. We also offer a holistic set of life-skills classes, mentorship opportunities, and reentry programs to prepare prisoners to be leaders in their communities - whether inside or outside of prison. As a result, we are seeing prisoners use their sentences as a time to grow, change, and find a new, positive life path with Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers as their guide.
Prison Fellowship Ministries
44180 Riverside Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176
Email: [email protected]
CEO/President: James J. Ackerman
Chairman: Carl F. Dill, Jr.
Board size: 15
Founder: Charles W. Colson
Ruling year: 1977
Tax deductible: Yes
Fiscal year end: 06/30
Member of ECFA: Yes
Member of ECFA since: 1980
Vision: To see all affected by crime reconciled to God, their families, and their communities.
Prison Fellowship believes that a restorative approach to prisoners, former prisoners, and all those affected by crime and incarceration can make communities safer and healthier. Our ministry is founded on the conviction that all people are created in God's image and that no life is beyond God's reach. As Christians, we believe that Jesus - Himself brought to trial, executed, buried, and brought to life again - offers hope, healing, and a new purpose for each life. He can make even the most broken people and situations whole again. Through an amazing awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their neighbors, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal.
Our mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration.
Statement of faith
The Foundation of What We Believe
As a Christian organization, Prison Fellowship believes in the full authority of the Bible as God's inspired Word and the complete tenets of the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds.
We believe in one God, Creator and Lord of the Universe, the co-eternal Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ, God's Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, rose bodily from the dead and ascended to heaven where, as truly God and truly man, He is the only mediator between God and man. We believe that the Bible is God's authoritative and inspired Word, without error in all its teachings.
How We Are Compelled to Live and to Act
We believe that Christians, both individually and corporately, must submit to the Bible, as God's authoritative, divine and inspired Word, in all matters of belief and conduct.
How Our Mission and Our Approach is Shaped
Prison Fellowship exists to bring glory to God and share His truth and love with those we serve, our employees, volunteers, and communities, according to Scriptural truths. Our Mission is to help restore those affected by crime and incarceration. This Mission is founded on the biblical conviction that all people are created in God's image and that no life is beyond God's reach.
Therefore, we believe that a restorative approach to prisoners, former prisoners, and all those affected by crime and incarceration reflects the God-given dignity and potential of every person and can help individual lives and communities flourish.
What the Hope of Jesus Means for Others
We believe that Jesus-Himself brought to trial, executed, buried, and brought to life again-offers hope, healing, and a new purpose for each life. He can make even the most broken people and situations affected by crime and incarceration whole again.
What this Means for Communities Through an amazing awakening to new hope and life purpose available through Jesus, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their neighbors, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal that restores entire communities. Because the Bible calls us to remember and visit those in prison, we believe that every Christian is compelled to contribute to this restorative cycle.
Donor confidence score
|Does the organization have a statement of faith consistent with historic Christian creeds and is that statement of easily found on its website?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the board have no more than 2 non-independent members?||Yes||10/10|
|Does the board have at least four independent board members for every non-independent member?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the board contain between 5 and 11 members?||No||0/10|
|Does the organization file a Form 990 and make its Form 990 available to the public?||Yes||15/15|
|Does the organization make its audit or review (if annual revenue is more than $1-m) available on its website?||Yes||4/4|
|Is the organization a member of the ECFA?||Yes||9/9|
|Is the CEO/President's compensation within one standard deviation of the median compensation?||Yes||4/4|
|Did the organization operate at a net profit (revenue greater than expenses) in the most recent year?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the organization refrain from owning or leasing a private aircraft, or having fractional interest in one, that is primarily used for travel by the organization's leaders?||Yes||4/4|
|For the past five years, has the organization been free of any lawsuits or administrative actions filed against it by an employee, client, board member, vendor, donor, or other related party?||Yes||4/4|
|Are author royalties and speaking engagement fees paid to the organization, and not the individual?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the organization require its employees to affirm upon hiring the statement of faith of the organization?||Yes||4/4|
|Is the board chair an independent member of the board?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the board have term limits?||Yes||4/4|
|Have there been no public accusations of misdeeds against the organization, founder, CEO, senior pastor, or board members in the past five years?||Yes||4/4|
|Has the organization refrained from the use of non-disclosure agreements?||Yes||4/4|
|Does the organization have an overall financial efficiency rating of at least 2 stars?||No||0/4|
|Total donor confidence score||86/100|
To understand our transparency grade, click here.
Financial efficiency ratings
Sector: Christian Growth
|Category||Rating||Overall rank||Sector rank|
|Overall efficiency rating||902 of 1050||53 of 58|
|Fund acquisition rating||1046 of 1051||58 of 58|
|Resource allocation rating||995 of 1051||55 of 58|
|Asset utilization rating||249 of 1050||15 of 58|
Click here to read Prison Fellowship Ministries' response to our ratings
|Funding ratios||Sector median||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
|Operating ratios||Sector median||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
|Investing ratios||Sector median||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
|Liquidity ratios||Sector median||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
|Solvency ratios||Sector median||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
|Receivables, inventories, prepaids||$3,195,694||$4,497,241||$5,120,641||$5,445,266||$4,845,466|
|Other current assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total current assets||$29,909,321||$30,868,762||$22,799,795||$20,248,307||$19,106,458|
|Other long-term assets||$1,373,930||$1,208,159||$1,208,111||$1,178,714||$1,876,288|
|Total long-term assets||$3,441,227||$2,241,553||$2,183,674||$2,125,110||$2,931,459|
|Payables and accrued expenses||$6,948,943||$5,014,794||$3,776,002||$4,444,417||$4,626,737|
|Other current liabilities||$0||$0||$46,596||$78,225||$18,043|
|Total current liabilities||$6,948,943||$5,014,794||$3,822,598||$4,522,642||$4,644,780|
|Due to (from) affiliates||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Other long-term liabilities||$2,445,230||$2,901,284||$6,394,679||$3,263,043||$3,765,078|
|Total long-term liabilities||$2,477,723||$2,963,552||$6,438,509||$3,325,158||$3,844,354|
|Without donor restrictions||$5,450,528||$8,173,548||$2,565,788||$1,311,971||$2,640,805|
|With donor restrictions||$18,473,354||$16,958,421||$12,156,574||$13,213,646||$10,907,978|
|Revenues and expenses|
|Program service revenue||$28,653||$29,437||$72,788||$76,674||$78,133|
|Total other revenue||$524,884||$1,056,533||$1,179,996||$1,442,899||$2,612,992|
|Management and general||$5,366,151||$4,664,395||$4,110,130||$3,605,613||$3,454,036|
|Change in net assets||2022||2021||2020||2019||2018|
|Other changes in net assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total change in net assets||$1,664,447||$7,336,253||$368,307||$796,182||$7,278,438|
|James Ackerman||President and CEO||$461,327|
|Timothy P Robison||Chief Operating Officer||$286,964|
|Samuel L Dye||Sr VP, Warden Exchange||$224,092|
|Daniel Kingery||EVP, Field Programs||$223,908|
|Heather Rice-Minus||Sr VP, Advocacy and Church Mobilization||$210,283|
|Craig M Deroche||Sr VP, Advocacy & Public Policy (through July 2020)||$207,252|
|William D Aggen||Natl Dir Evaluation and Research||$190,928|
|Natika Washington||VP, Corporate Partnerships||$183,160|
|Kelly Friedlander||Sr VP, Marketing & Communications||$180,684|
|Tammy Boyle||VP, Strategic Gifts||$180,148|
|Stephen B Tucker Jr||VP, Finance||$172,407|
|Ed Harrison||Sr Director, Information Technology||$171,379|
|Daniela Gleason||VP, Human Resources||$164,036|
|John Rowland||Development Director||$152,514|
|Kristin Emerson||Assistant Secretary||$114,160|
Compensation data as of: 6/30/2021
Response from ministry
"Prison Fellowship Ministries values organizations, such as Ministry Watch, that evaluate faith-based nonprofit organizations using publicly available financial information. We provide this response to highlight that while Ministry Watch performs a valuable service to donors by increasing financial awareness of nonprofit ministry organizations, the rating does not provide a holistic view of Prison Fellowship's operational model and its significant results.
Ministry Watch acknowledges this limited assessment by noting in its 5 Star Rating System memo that "[n]owhere within the rating system is an attempt made to assess the effectiveness of individual [nonprofits'] mission or structure. Nowhere within the rating system is an attempt made to assess the effectiveness of programs." It then goes on to note that: "[a]ll models have limitations...[i]t [the Rating System] does not measure program outcomes or program effectiveness... [and does] not assess an organization's integrity or the worthiness of its mission." Please note in reviewing our rating that:
1. PF is financially healthy and has been strengthened significantly over the last five (5) years by our current President and CEO and senior leadership team. PF's program expense ratio has increased over the past five (5) years and is at 69.5%, while revenue increased by approximately $3.5MM during the same period. As a result, Charity Navigator has increased PF's rating to 3 out of 4 stars, reflecting our financial health.
2. Prison Fellowship is fully accredited with the Better Business Bureau-we meet all 20 required indicators that measure a healthy organization; and are in excellent standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and serve as an original charter member. We adhere to their guidelines for sound financial management.
3. PF maintains a "Platinum" status with GuideStar (an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies). This status reflects our transparency and the significant impact on how donations are used to transform lives. CharityWatch gives PF a "B-" rating.
4. Prison Fellowship's ministry model has few in-kind donations and instead relies heavily on a large volunteer workforce of more than 12,000 volunteers to carry out the mission. Unfortunately, we are unable to count volunteer hours as program expenses with outside rating agencies based upon their formulas. This results in a program ratio that is lower than organizations who receive a large volume of in-kind donations like clothing, food, or other non-monetary donations. However, it is not a reflection of PF's high investment in programming each year or our financial health, which is very strong.
5. PF is in its 5th year toward a 10-year vision for significant growth and expansion, including the reach of in-prison Academies into all 50 states. PF currently has more than 120 Academies transforming lives and prisons in 29 states - well on its way toward achieving this vision.
We encourage you to take a holistic view of Prison Fellowship and our mission. Keeping in mind key mission factors that impact on our financial ratio results. Thank you."
The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 11/28/2022. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]
Prison Fellowship® is the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. The organization was founded in 1976 by Charles Colson, a former aide to President Nixon, who served seven months in federal prison for a Watergate-related crime.
Today, Prison Fellowship brings restoration to those affected by crime and incarceration nationwide by facilitating prisoners' transformation, supporting prisoners' families and returning citizens, and advocating for a criminal justice system that reflects the God-given dignity and potential of each life. Through an awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their community, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal.
Our Work in Prison
Prison Fellowship Academy
The brokenness that lands men and women in prison, left unaddressed, perpetuates a cycle of destructive thinking and behaviors that impacts individuals and communities-both inside and outside prison walls.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Founded on the Christian belief of human dignity and redemption, the Prison Fellowship Academy® seeks to disrupt this cycle. Using targeted curriculum, compassionate coaches, and restorative community, Academy participants embark on a yearlong journey to develop and practice the biblically based values of Good CitizenshipSM: community, affirmation, productivity, responsibility, restoration, and integrity. As they adopt and apply these Christian concepts of community and personal responsibility, they replace criminal thinking and behaviors with renewed life principles and purpose. The result is flourishing and peaceful communities, where participants overcome the life-controlling issues that led to their incarceration. Academy graduates complete the program as change agents, prepared to take their places as productive and positive contributors to their communities inside and outside of prison.
In prison yards across the country, men and women are being introduced to the hope of Jesus Christ through one- and two-day Prison Fellowship Hope Events that feature a variety of inspirational speakers and musicians. While providing a brief respite from the challenges of prison life, these events give prisoners the chance to respond to Christ and take the next step of joining a faith community behind bars.
Prison Fellowship Connection Classes offer men and women behind bars the chance to receive regular support and encouragement as they study God's truth and learn to apply it to their lives. Thousands of trained Prison Fellowship volunteers across the country lead regular Bible studies, drop-in classes, substance abuse recovery groups, and seminars on topics from marriage to anger management. In a truly caring environment, prisoners build community and develop transformative life skills.
Inside Journal® is a quarterly newspaper printed and distributed by Prison Fellowship to corrections facilities across the country. Written specifically for incarcerated men and women, each Inside Journal issue (published in a men's edition, a women's edition, and a Spanish-language edition) explains the Gospel in a fresh way, offers encouragement and motivation, and shares practical advice for the daily struggles of prison life. Distributed to prisoners via chaplains, program coordinators, and in-prison volunteers, Inside Journal provides a unique way to share the hope of Jesus with those who may never attend a chapel service or Bible study.
Warden Exchange® is an innovative program of Prison Fellowship that equips wardens to be transformative leaders in their facilities and in the wider corrections community. Through seven- or nine-month programs, Warden Exchange convene corrections professionals from across the country for intensive exchange with interdisciplinary thought leaders who share innovative ideas and best practices for transformational leadership, the moral rehabilitation of incarcerated men and women, and community engagement. Participants emerge equipped to bring restorative change to their facilities and to build safer, more constructive, and more rehabilitative correctional environments.
Prison Fellowship's new online portal FloodlightTM partners with top Christian content providers to make available positive inspirational and educational content to prisons across the country. The free, high-quality video offerings may be downloaded and shared on prison televisions and devices (where available). Floodlight, available in more than 100 prisons across 43 states, reaches more than half a million prisoners with much-needed uplifting entertainment for incarcerated men and women, many of whom were increasingly isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Our Work on the Outside
Angel Tree® creates a pathway to reconciliation between incarcerated parents and their children and families. The bad choices that lead to a prison sentence, as well as the distance created by incarceration, can strain a prisoner's family ties to the breaking point. At Christmas, the emotional pain of a loved one's incarceration grows even more intense, and the financial hardship of a lost breadwinner can mean that there are no presents under the tree. Angel Tree gives incarcerated parents a way to provide a Christmas gift and a personal message, delivered by caring, local volunteers, as a tangible representation of their love. The church, which embodies the hope and grace of the Gospel message to prisoners' families, may continue to minister to the prisoner's family throughout the year. Every Angel Tree parent's family is also given access to a free, easy-to-read copy of the Bible.
Through Angel Tree Camping®, Prison Fellowship provides scholarships for thousands of Angel Tree children to attend Christian summer camps, where they have the opportunity to have fun, fellowship with their peers, build relationships with caring camp counselors, and experience the love of God in the great outdoors. At camp, many children will make a first-time decision to trust in Jesus Christ or deepen their commitment to Him.
Angel Tree gives children with incarcerated parents an unforgettable day of coaching, encouragement,
and hope in Christ. Through lessons, drills, and fun competition, kids who might not otherwise have a chance to attend a day camp are treated like champions. It's a unique opportunity for youth of all ages and abilities to gain skills in various sports and learn about God's love from seasoned college players and former professional athletes.
Advocacy and Justice Reform
Prison Fellowship advocates for justice that restores, an approach to criminal justice that recognizes the value and potential of every human life. Our advocacy team promotes reforms that help transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and create safer communities by:
Advancing more proportional punishment that promotes both accountability and restoration.
Facilitating a constructive prison culture that is safe, rehabilitative, and allows people to make amends for their crime while earning back the public's trust.
Advocating for genuine opportunities for people with a criminal record to achieve closure, returning to communities as fully contributing citizens who make the most of their second chance and fulfill their God-given potential.
Prison Fellowship has worked with members of Congress to pass groundbreaking legislation that makes the criminal justice system more restorative, including: the FIRST Step Act (2018), Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (2000), the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2000), the Second Chance Act (2008), the Fair Sentencing Act (2010), and the establishment of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections (2016), as well as a variety of state-level criminal justice reforms.
Prison Fellowship advocates for the establishment of a national Second Chance® Month every April to call attention to the barriers faced by people with a criminal record and advocate for second chances. With other ministry partners, Prison Fellowship has helped launched the Justice Declaration, a call to the Church to use its unique capacity to respond the crisis of crime and over-incarceration. Finally, Prison Fellowship has authored a small-group criminal justice curriculum called Outrageous Justice® and has also convened the Faith & Justice Fellowship, a group of state and national leaders motivated by their respective faith traditions to advance restorative values in the criminal justice system.
Prison Fellowship by the Numbers
More than 17,000 incarcerated men and women participate in Prison Fellowship programming monthly.
There are 110 Prison Fellowship Academy sites throughout the United States. A partnership with Celebrate Recovery brings their Christ-centered recovery program into the Academy to help incarcerated men and women in their restoration journey.
Our 40 to Fifty Campaign is a bold, 10-year plan aimed at establishing 172 Prison Fellowship Academy sites by the year 2026.
202 leaders in corrections have participated in Warden Exchange.
Inside Journal reaches more than 240,000 prisoners-and counting-in more than 800 correctional facilities throughout North America.
Fiscal Year 2020
19,373 prisoners attended Hope Events at correctional facilities across the country.
2,984 men and women were enrolled in a Prison Fellowship Academy.
75,432 Bibles distributed.
420,000 incarcerated viewers in 41 states accessed faith-based content via FloodlightTM, our brand new online portal.
5,369 Justice Advocates took 27,000 actions, sending over 26,000 letters to federal and state lawmakers and the president.
47,611 copies of Outrageous Justice® were distributed to small groups across the country. The book, video series, and small-group curriculum are designed to awaken Christians to the need for justice that restores.
Angel Tree Fiscal Year 2020
Nearly 300,000 children received a Christmas gift on behalf of their incarcerated parent through traditional Angel Tree.
Angel Tree families received 27,587 Bibles.
As we remember those in prison, Prison Fellowship invites you to join us as we strive to make prisons safer and more rehabilitative, advance criminal justice reforms, and support prisoners, their families, and their communities.
How You Can Join Us
Connect your church with Prison Fellowship. To speak with your nearest Prison Fellowship representative about prison ministry and opportunities available near you, contact us today at prisonfellowship.org/churchrequest.
Participate in Angel Tree with thousands of other churches at Christmas and throughout the year (angeltree.org or 1-800-55-ANGEL).
Welcome returning citizens into your church or small group.
Volunteer in prison and show the love of Christ to people behind bars by leading a Bible study, facilitating a life-skills class, or becoming a mentor.
Advocate for justice that restores (prisonfellowship.org/about/justicereform).
Make a financial gift and help continue our ministry to all those affected by crime and incarceration (prisonfellowship.org/donate).
Find more ways to get involved at prisonfellowship.org.
Follow us on Facebook (/pfministries), Twitter (@justicereform), or Instagram (@prisonfellowship).