The InnerChange Freedom Initiative: A Preliminary Evaluation of a Faith-Based Prison Program
The InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) is a faith-based pre-release program operated by Prison Fellowship Ministries through a contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The IFI program involves prisoners in 16 to 24 months of in-prison programs and 6 to 12 months of aftercare following release from prison. Program graduates have completed not only the in-prison phases dealing with biblical education, work, and community service, but also have completed an aftercare program in which the participant must hold a job and have been an active church member for 3 consecutive months following release from prison. The two-year study (2000-2002) of IFI program graduates shows a significant linkage between faith based mentoring and decreased recidivism rates. When IFI graduates are compared to a similar group of released inmates (controlled for race, age, offense type, and salient risk factor score) that met IFI program criteria but did not enter the program, program graduates were 50% less likely to be arrested, and 60% less likely to become reincarcerated.