Churches across the country are engaged in a growing ministry with incarcerated persons who are preparing to return to their communities. The re-entry process is challenging and risk-prone; but with support and local networks, former residents find new opportunities and hope for re-entering as a productive member of the community. The more these churches and faith communities learn about the struggle for dignity and a new life with these returning citizens, the more they become engaged in advocacy for reform in the criminal justice system.
In this society — with one of the largest incarceration rates in the world, with a prison-industry that profits from these high rates, and with a criminal enforcement system that has disproportionate effects on persons of color — communities of faith are moved to combine ministries of compassion and care with those of justice and advocacy.
The Council of Deans of the Washington Theological Consortium has voted to combine forces of various faculty members to offer a Certificate in Criminal Justice and Reconciliation to its students, and members of the public. Like other Consortium Certificates, students study with faculty members from different schools to fulfill the 12 credit hour requirement, which includes an introductory course, a basic ethics course, a practicum that takes students into a re-entry ministry or incarceration setting, and an elective related to the subject matter. For more information, visit: Certificate in Criminal Justice and Reconciliation