Prison Fellowship™ & Celebrate Recovery Announce Partnership to Help Prisoners Fight Addiction

Celebrate Recovery Will Also Introduce Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree™ Program to Existing Groups Nationwide

Prison Fellowship is partnering with Celebrate Recovery to provide addiction-recovery programming to incarcerated men and women nationwide. This type of programming is needed more than ever, as statistical evidence reveals 50 percent of federal prisoners are held on drug offenses and, without intervention, 76.9 percent of them are likely to be rearrested after their release.

"At the heart of both Prison Fellowship and Celebrate Recovery is a desire to give people a second chance and help those in the hardest struggle of their lives experience lasting change through the life-changing message of Christ," said John Baker, the founder of Celebrate Recovery. "I am overjoyed Celebrate Recovery is partnering with Prison Fellowship to help more incarcerated men and women overcome the overwhelming burden of addiction."

Beginning immediately, Prison Fellowship will implement Celebrate Recovery in its Prison Fellowship Academies, established in 75 prisons in 22 states. These intensive academies assist more than 3,500 prisoners with holistic life transformation through mentoring by Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers to become restored individuals both inside and outside prison.

"We believe those who are incarcerated deserve a second chance in many aspects of their lives, including overcoming hurdles associated with addiction," said James Ackerman, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship. "Prison Fellowship works alongside those incarcerated as they seek to better themselves while behind bars and prepare for life outside prison bars. By partnering with Celebrate Recovery, we are bringing prisoners another tool to help them in their restoration journey."

Celebrate Recovery has designed its program to help people overcome hurts, hang-ups and habits. The program was launched by Baker 25 years ago at Saddleback Church—led by well-known pastor Rick Warren—and is now offered to communities through more than 30,000 churches worldwide. The Celebrate Recovery Inside program is currently being offered in prison systems in 42 states, as well as several federal prisons. In the last seven years, more than 175,000 prisoners have completed the one-year program. Bringing the program to more prisoners struggling with addiction is a natural extension of Prison Fellowship's goal to see those incarcerated use their sentences as a time to grow, change and find a new, positive life path.

Celebrate Recovery is also implementing and promoting Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program at all existing Celebrate Recovery groups across the country. Angel Tree is a ministry that serves incarcerated parents and their children by restoring and strengthening their relationships.

About Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. With 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive and just society.

About Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree
Angel Tree creates a pathway to reconciliation between incarcerated parents and their children and families. At Christmas, the emotional pain of a loved one's incarceration grows even more intense, and the financial hardship of a lost breadwinner can mean that there are no presents under the tree. Angel Tree gives incarcerated parents a way to provide a Christmas gift and a personal message, delivered by caring, local volunteers, as a tangible representation of their love. The church may also continue to minister to the prisoner's family throughout the year. Every Angel Tree parent's family is also given access to a free, easy-to-read copy of the Bible.

About Celebrate Recovery
Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program, based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. Twenty-five years ago, Saddleback Church launched Celebrate Recovery with 43 people. Celebrate Recovery has helped more than 20,000 people at Saddleback, attracting over 70 percent of its members from outside the church. Eighty-five percent of the people who go through the program stay with the church, and nearly half serve as church volunteers.