Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Jason Waters


Recidivism, Prison reform, Faith-based Rehabilitation, Prison Ministry, re-entry, Religion in prison, recidivism reduction.


Christianity | Rehabilitation and Therapy


This study focused on the relationship between Christian programming to prisoners and their lives when released into society. During this study, several men from The Jesus House ministry location were observed and interviewed on the lives they now lead after getting saved or finding Christ while in prison and being released to a faith-based aftercare facility. This study examined the mission and vision leaders of this ministry believed while interviewing participants and staff about their personal stories, and why they chose to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society. Furthermore, this study investigated the current rehabilitation programming to see where Christian programming can be integrated as a model to aid in the rehabilitation and re-entry of prisoners. Another part of the study examined the structure of this program to see how it has become successful in changing the lives of many returning citizens. The main questions this study sought to explore are: What are the common reasons for recidivism? How did The Jesus House help to change these men’s lives? What program elements were most effective in life transformation? Lastly, how can this program help to reduce recidivism as a model for other programs? The purpose of this ethnographic study was to see if a relationship exists between finding Christ in prison and not becoming a repeat offender. By examining the lives of former prisoners, it helped to determine a framework upon which to build a religious model of re-entry in modern American society. Key Words: Recidivism, Christian Prison Ministries, Re-entry, Rehabilitation, Finding Christ