The mission of Center For Jail Transformation (C4JT) is to empower local jails to transform their culture and their atmosphere so that people detained there can encounter Christ in a meaningful way and be transformed themselves (Romans 12:2). Our work is based on actual local county jails in the USA who partnered with their community -- and most importantly, the Christian churches -- to see amazing short-term and long-term results.
There are approximately 2,300 small county jails in the USA (200 beds or less), mostly in rural communities. For the most part, they have not changed their methods or culture significantly in over 50 years. Yet many citizens will be incarcerated there because of being sentenced to jail, as opposed to prison. Common sentences range from 30 days in jail to one year in jail for a serious misdemeanor conviction. Yet the small jails typically have no resources to offer those detained there for these longer periods (e.g., chaplaincy, counseling, drug treatment, even basic education -- all of which are proven to break the cycles of crime, poverty, violence, and addiction.)
C4JT was birthed out of the good work done by the Arkansas Jail Resource Day Virtual Working Group in the year 2020. Volunteers met each month for a year on Zoom to create the Roadmap to Jail Transformation. Once complete it was presented at the third annual Jail Resource Day conference on May 11, 2021.
We operate as a non-profit consulting, training, and solutions service to jail leaders (sheriffs, judges, administrators, chaplains, and concerned community leaders), to provide guidance on how to partner with their local community to bring the transforming power of the Gospel, the support and resources of the local church, and the power of Christian volunteers together to improve -- or even revolutionize -- the culture, programs, and results of their jail.
Here is a quote from one of the pioneers of the jail transformation movement that sums it all up very well:
"No doubt, the criminal element is a cancer in our society. Is it better to treat that cancer at stage 3 or 4 with a 30% chance of success? Or does logic dictate that better results can be achieved if we treat it at stage 1 or 2 with a 70% chance of success? For better than half of a century we have treated this problem at stage 3 or 4, with little or no attention paid to the early stages of criminal activity, where we can do the most good.
"[People need] front-end redirection at a small-county level with a low-cost, community-based program structure. [A people-oriented approach improves the] jail atmosphere and not only reduces risk to staff but can also reduce operating costs.
"There are many low-cost programs and free resources that can improve public opinion and return these individuals to become productive citizens while benefiting facilities that house them by controlling costs, improving officer safety, and strengthening inmate behavior control."
--Sgt. Anthony "Tony" Hardee, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, Lockhart, Texas, pioneer of the model program "The Little County That Could"
The basic premise of C4JT is that when the leadership of a small jail has the epiphany of wanting people to be better when they leave the jail than when they came in, there should be a basic roadmap that any jail could follow to get them started on the path of transformation. Our flagship product, the Roadmap to Jail Transformation, provides just that - for FREE!
We have organized as a Christian ministry governed by a strong board of directors. We are a highly-experienced team with an abundance of resources from which to construct a transformation plan for any jail. We also plan to host an annual conference for transforming jail leaders, volunteers, local church leaders, etc. We have several other powerful initiatives in the planning stages.
Will you join us in the exciting new venture? Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do--yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12, Good News Translation) We envision a great army of Christians, who believe in the promise of greater works in these last days, who embrace their local jails, empowered with the tools of transformation.
Please join us in this great adventure that we call “LOCAL JAILS: THE MISSION FIELD NEXT DOOR”!