Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners and their families, is observing "Second Chance Month" in a big way this year.
The ministry strives to restore the lives of all those affected by crime and incarceration while helping people with criminal records become contributing members of society.
In 2017, former President Donald Trump declared April Second Chance Month as a way to improve criminal justice in America.
During an interview with The Christian Post, Prison Fellowship Senior Vice President for Advocacy & Church Mobilization, Heather Rice-Minus said the initiative is used to raise public awareness about the barriers that former prisoners face when trying to turn their lives around.
"Today, there are 44,000 documented social stigmas and legal restrictions limiting ex-prisoners access to education, jobs, housing, and other things they need to reach their full potential," she said. "We use Second Chance Month to raise awareness about these barriers and unlock brighter futures for people with a criminal record."
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***
Prison Fellowship is working with churches across the country and has teamed up with Christian rapper Lecrae who loves to "connect with people that society has forgotten."
"It's a community that I feel connected to," Lecrae said in 2019. "These are people that need love and need encouragement, that the world kind of forgets about. God still loves them, so do I."
Lecrae has had his own run-ins with the law and has talked openly about his wild teenage years growing up in Houston, Texas.
"My uncles were young and wrapped up in the streets, gangs and drugs and just promiscuous," he told CBN in a previous interview. "I idolized it. I wanted to be the gang member. I wanted every tattoo that (my uncle) had. I saw my first gun and all these different things. I was like, 'This must be what it means to be a man.'"
Eventually, Lecrae found himself taking drugs and getting involved in the gang culture. But it only when he was sitting in the back of a cop car having been arrested on a drug possession charge that he felt God speak to him in a powerful way — all through the kind actions of a police officer.
From that point forward, the talented musician started to allow the Holy Spirit to work in his heart and the rest is history.
Prison Fellowship has multiple events scheduled throughout the month, including a virtual gala on April 29. Special guests will share powerful stories about getting a second chance and there will be a performance by Lecrae. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will deliver the keynote address.
The ministry was founded in 1976 by Charles Colson on the belief that "all people are created in God's image and that no life is beyond God's reach."