Dr. Karen Swanson, Director of the Institute for Prison Ministries (IPM), a ministry of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, will train mentors to inmates preparing for release in Kansas this March.
In connection with Freedom Ministries of Kansas, Swanson will conduct training sessions March 10-14, starting in Topeka and continuing throughout the state. Freedom Ministries is collaborating with the Kansas Department of Corrections as a lead organization in a program called Mentoring4Success.
Mentoring4Success, a statewide faith-based initiative led by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, is designed to help offenders safely and successfully return to communities. The community-based effort recently reached its goal of garnering 500 volunteers.
“Providing mentor training is a great privilege for IPM as we partner with the faith-based community and the Kansas Department of Corrections in this historic opportunity to collaborate and increase public safety,” Swanson says. “Research indicates that prisoners reentering society are more successful if they have a social support network. Mentors can provide that.”
The author of several books on ministry to offenders and their families, Swanson is a founder of the Correctional Ministries and Chaplains Association, a professional association for Christians in correctional ministries.
Her training sessions will provide information to help mentors understand criminal thinking errors, develop motivational interviewing skills, and work effectively with ex-offenders from backgrounds of generational poverty.
Freedom Ministries of Kansas may be contacted through its website, freedomministriesinc.com.