April 8, 2021
Prison Fellowship announced March 31 that the ministry is in the planning stages to start Alabama’s first Tier 2 Prison Fellowship Academy in addition to the six Tier 1 academies it already runs.
PFA’s aim is to use targeted curriculum, compassionate coaches and restorative community over a one-year period to “disrupt the cycle of destructive thinking” and prepare prisoners to be good citizens after release. It’s an intensive, Bible-based program. For a while now, Tier 1 PFA sites in Alabama have utilized Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers to lead students through about 200 program hours in 12 months.
What makes Tier 2 different is that it involves an onsite Prison Fellowship Academy program director, it offers more than double the program hours and it offers dedicated housing space for program participants. This allows participants to learn together, practice new behaviors together and change the culture of the prison.
Prison Fellowship is currently in talks with the Alabama Department of Corrections to start the first Tier 2 PFA in the state. It would join the state’s six already existing Tier 1 PFA sites — Bibb County Correctional Facility, Birmingham Community Based Facility, St. Clair Correctional Facility, William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility and Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, which hosts two PFAs.
Nationwide, Prison Fellowship runs 129 academies in correctional facilities.