Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Leadership, Prison, Correctional, Chaplain, Undershepherd
Leadership Studies | Religion
Kowalczyk, Richard S., "Leading from Eternity: Developing Inmates with Life Sentences into Undershepherds" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3021.
In an attempt to reform the American criminal justice system, the United States Congress passed, and the President signed, the comprehensive First Step Act (FSA). The aim of the FSA is to identify and begin preparing offenders for release in order to reduce recidivism. Unfortunately, the provisions of FSA applied to only a small percentage of the inmate population. Further, there was very little relief with regards to the reforming of the sentencing guidelines. None of the provisions provided any direct relief for inmates with a minimum of 20 years to life sentences. This thesis project provides an opportunity for inmates with long prison sentences the opportunity to contribute to their re-entry needs. Qualitative research identified important themes for participants to associate with and apply to their hopeful reintegration to society. The thematic findings provided strong anchors for the participants to develop a continuity of leadership practice, to understand the concept of being an undershepherd, and the implications of the eternal self.