The rate of recidivism for those released from Gallatin (Mont.) Detention Center has dropped to less than 10 percent from the statewide rate of 37 percent. The success is due to an excellent reentry program, according to assistant prison chaplain Harry Faber.
Faber said a team of volunteers is assigned to an inmate before release. The team offers fellowship and Bible study as well as help with housing, employment, and budgeting. Volunteers also encourage inmates to become involved with a church.
Faber began prison ministry in 1989 as a volunteer. Volunteering led to full-time work at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.
Faber’s work with prisoners focused on their relationship with Christ. He told inmates about his relationship with the Lord and asked about theirs. “Some would drop out then,” he said, “but others kept coming.”
After two decades in Montana, Faber and his wife are moving to Michigan, but he hopes to continue in prison ministry.
“The body of Christ needs to see there is a mission field right next door. We all have families in our area where one of the two parents is incarcerated,” he said.
“They need friends. Those who are released need help adjusting to a new life.”