We are an interdenominational, non-profit Christian ministry that exists to meet the spiritual needs of past and present inmates and staff in the Chatham County Detention Center through genuine gospel hope and deliberate discipleship in biblical living.
It's the percentage of those returning to jail or prison within a three-year period of their most recent release from incarceration. Nationwide, it averages around 80%, making the justice system a revolving door for repeat offenders. However, our program numbers indicate a dramatic reduction in recidivism; conservatively, 80% don't return to jail.
In reality, it's the grace of the Lord that changes of the heart of all sinners, criminal offenders included. It trains us "to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives" (Titus 2:12). As those involved in the Life Learning Program learn a different way of thinking, they gain the ability to put off their old ways and take up a new life in Christ (Col 3:5-10).
As a result of God's Word going forth in the jail, the community of Savannah is blessed by the transformation of each detainee who turns to Christ. Our ministry saves local tax payers an estimated $5,000,000 annually through recidivism reduction costs. Money spent for police officers, detectives, equipment, jail facilities, inmate room and board, sheriff officers and administrative staff, judges, criminal prosecution and indigent defense lawyers. These numbers in no way can account for the reduction of pain, suffering, broken families and property losses within our community due to a reduction of crime.
- In the jail:
- Inmates in the chaplain's program receive roughly 12 hours of structured instruction a week and then one-on-one counseling with our chaplains.
- An estimated 300 inmates jail wide participating in a Bible study weekly, and they complete nearly 12,500 Bible study lessons annually.
- Outside of the jail:
- Chatham Transitional Ministry, with whom we work closely, has nearly 40 Bible study participants a week.
- That means that, together, we've placed almost 500 former inmates in jobs here in Savannah, with a 91% job-retention rate!
- Only 3/10 of one percent of our transitional ministry participants have ever been re-incarcerated, either on new charges or probation violations.
- Taxpayer dollars used: Zero! We are a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that receives no county, state, or federal funding. Our principle source of funds are donations from Christian churches, local citizens, and businesses in the surrounding areas.