The Allendale Correctional Worship Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to raise money, create, and support a worship center within the confines of Allendale Correctional Institution (ACI), thus helping reduce re-offending and saving taxpayers money. Our ultimate mission is to help strengthen the bonds needed for a more stable life as these men are released back into society.
Why are we doing this?
The answer is simple. We believe that religious instruction is one of the most powerful tools in the transformation of human lives. U.S. Department of Justice findings suggest that inmates who participate in faith-based prison programs are “motivated to make changes in their lives and are seeking their way in a religious sense.1” Study after study also show that men and women who participate in such activities do not return to prison after release in the same numbers as those who do not. Faith programs offer more and better opportunities for inmates leaving our institution to become men better able to live life on the outside with integrity and purpose, and to break the cycle of offending.
Simply put, meaningful religious activities reduce recidivism
For every 5 percent we reduce recidivism in South Carolina, 1135 inmates will not return to prison. At an average cost per inmate of $14,409 this translates into a savings of over $16 million a year. At ACI, 5 percent will prevent an estimated 65 inmates from returning to prison and save almost $1,000,000 annually. The research on the correlation between religion in prison and recidivism (repeat offense rate) has one consistent theme: “Religious programs … remain an important source of programs in modern prisons.2”
For as long as Allendale Correctional Institution has been in existence, there have been active and robust religious programs inside the fence. From worship services and life skills classes to faith-based recovery programs and religious studies, volunteers and staff give their all to ensure that the men who seek religious instruction have ample opportunities to do so. Unfortunately, we have outgrown our space!
We Can Do More With A Worship Center
There is so much more that can be done. Currently at ACI, there is no space dedicated exclusively for religious programming. Having a worship center will change that. Faith-based programs have become a significant source of new programs and increased volunteers. These programs place a greater demand on space that is already at a premium. Throughout its 22 years, ACI has never had a building dedicated to faith programs. Volunteers who help with our worship services, study groups, recovery programs, and other classes, are forced to compete with time in the gym, classrooms, or wherever may be available at the time.In addition to its many programs,
With A Dedicated Worship Center, We Can Do More … And We Can Do It Better
ACI recently implemented a Character-based Housing Unit (CHU). It is an innovative, inmate- and volunteer-led, peer-to-peer accountability/pro-social program with a proven success. In its first year, 128 residents attended over 30,000 hours of programs to better themselves and get back on the right track. Expansion this year has more than doubled the participation, placing increased demand on space. JumpStart, a 40-week program completing its 3rd year, is based on the Purpose Driven Life book. Inside prison offers transitional housing and re-entry assistance once released, and it has been growing at ACI for 3 years. Add this to on-going and established programs such as Kairos Prison Ministry, recovery programs and additional volunteer-led activities, only intensify our need for a worship center.
Helping us build this worship center to enhance the spiritual lives of our inmates benefit society as these men return to our communities.
1“An Exploration into Participation in a Faith-Based Prison Program”, Camp, Scott et. al., Federal Bureau of Prisons, Office of Research and Evaluation, Washington, D.C., 20534, Click to view PDF.
3The Purpose Driven Life, © 2002 by Warren, Rev. Rick, Zondervan Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.