Prison Ministry Project
“I was in prison and you visited me.”
The Prison Ministry Project (PMP) is a social justice ministry of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Madison, Wisconsin, and is a direct response to the Gospel: “I was in prison and you visited me.” – Matthew 25:36
- Provide opportunities for volunteers to be present with women and men inside prison walls through Restorative Justice programs, Odyssey Beyond Bars, and worship services.
- Support victims, families, and communities affected by crime in response to immediate and on-going needs.
- Increase the understanding of shared responsibilities in building healthy communities.
- Advocate for criminal justice reform.
- Respond to the Gospel.
Founded in 2006, the Prison Ministry Project’s Restorative Justice initiative brings basic restorative justice principles into prison settings throughout Wisconsin. The non-sectarian program, sponsored by the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Madison, has reached over 1,000 incarcerated men and women, bringing them together with hundreds of volunteers from outside the prison walls. In weekly circle discussions, participants gradually develop trust in their fellow group members as they meet to share stories and talk about the ripples of harm.
We are committed to Restorative Justice because we believe it is a better way to do justice than the current system of mass incarceration.
From its beginning, the Prison Ministry Project has held Christian Worship and Communion services in Wisconsin prisons, most recently at Fox Lake Correctional Institution.
Reflections from our religious services:
Odyssey Beyond Bars
Odyssey Beyond Bars, part of UW-Madison’s Odyssey Project, offers programs to students incarcerated in Wisconsin state prisons.
Volunteers from across the state are the heart, voice, arms, and legs of the Prison Ministry Project. Read these testimonials from PMP volunteers to learn how volunteering has impacted their lives.
Many people have asked how they can get involved in the Prison Ministry Project. There are several opportunities inside correctional institutions, but there are many other ways to get involved in the larger community too. Background checks are required for anyone volunteering inside the prisons.
Contact Rev. Jerry Hancock, Prison Ministry Project Director, for details.