The number of persons under adult correctional supervision in the United States in 2013 was 6.89 million according to Bureau of Justice Statistics. That number includes those in jail or on probation or parole.
In Minnesota, the prison population hovers around 10,000, according to the National Institute of Corrections. Thousands more are jailed in the state’s county jails.
That’s a lot of people, and it’s a population that doesn’t receive a lot of attention from the church. That’s something Kevin and Fay Connors would like to see changed.
The couple, who are members of St. Joseph’s Church, are leading an initiative to begin a non-denominational prison outreach. Specifically, Fay said they hope to create a consortium of south suburban Twin Cities churches to provide a multi-faceted outreach to those under correctional supervision.
“Jesus doesn’t want people to be forgotten. We want to fill the void that’s present,” said Fay.
An informational meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 21 at St. Joseph’s, 13900 Biscayne Ave. The meeting is to discuss details of the ministry and ways in which volunteers can participate. Additionally, several speakers will provide testimony about the power of prison ministry and what it can accomplish.
There are a number of benefits to reaching out to imprisoned men and women. For one, Fay said, the community benefits when offenders change their lives. Specifically, Fay said while generally rates of recidivism are very high, studies show that inmates who have a positive one-to-one relationship with a community member are 40 percent less likely to offend again.
Additionally, Fay said reaching out to those who are incarcerated not only affects the people in prison but extends to their families and friends, who have to pick up the burden while the offender is imprisoned.
Kevin said the ministry will offer a variety of way to participate. Participation could be as simple as prayer or as involved as one-to-one mentoring. Kevin said prison ministry can be challenging and they want to have variety of ways for people to be involved at a level they are comfortable with.
“We want to involve as many people as possible,” said Kevin.
Excited for the new outreach, Fay invited anyone interested to come to the informational meeting and learn about it.
While attendance is free, they ask that those planning to attend reserve a spot. Please RSVP to Fay Connors at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 952-250-7613 or Kevin Connors at email@example.com or 952-426-8633.