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IFI Prison Program Comes to Missouri

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/ifiprisonp_1845.mp3

A new faith-based prison program has come to one of Missouri's men's correctional facilities. The InnerChange Freedom Initiative is a faith based prison program that focuses on preparing inmates for re-entry into society. KSMU's Emily Nash reports.

In 1996, then Governor George W. Bush started a prison program in Texas that focused on soon to be released inmates.

Mark Earley, President of Prison Fellowship, says the InnerChange Freedom Initiative was started in reaction to the number of former inmates being arrested shortly after their release.

IFI was introduced on March 1st at the Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City Missouri.

Since it began Missouri, four inmates at Algoa have been accepted and chosen to take part in the program.

Brian Hausworth is a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

He says even though there is a screening process for inmates, the IFI is completely voluntary.

After a 30-day orientation, inmates in IFI are placed in a separate living wing and are intensley trained by volunteers from the community.

Hausworth says the inmates who graduate from IFI will be more successful in their communities once released because of the strict sacrifices and discipline it requires.

IFI teaches values from a Christian perspective and involves regular Bible study.

Hausworth says although IFI is religiously based, the program is open to inmates from all faiths.

Mark Earley says, inmates usually chose the strict IFI program, because it's their last option to be successful once released from prison.

On June 4th the IFI program will expand to the Women's Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalla, Missouri.