Prison Fellowship was founded in the United States in 1976 by Charles W. Colson, following his release from prison after serving a sentence for a "Watergate" related crime. Prior to his imprisonment, Mr. Colson had served as chief counsel for President Richard Nixon.
During his own imprisonment, Mr. Colson had seen and experienced the difference that faith in Jesus Christ makes in the lives of people and he became convinced that the real solution to crime is found through spiritual renewal.
Prison Fellowship was founded to bring together men and women from various Christian churches to share the love of God with prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. Mr. Colson’s experiences in prison and in starting Prison Fellowship are recorded in his books Born Again and Life Sentence.
Three years after the formation of Prison Fellowship in the United States, representatives from similar organisations in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Bahamas met to form Prison Fellowship International as an association of national Prison Fellowship organisations. The purpose of PFI was to develop and serve national Prison Fellowship organisations.
Since 1979, Prison Fellowship International has grown to encompass national PF organisations in over 125 countries around the world. PFI is now the world’s largest and most extensive association of national Christian ministries working within the criminal justice field. As a non-governmental organization (NGO), PFI
maintains “special consultative status” with the UN Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) and is an active participant in the UN Alliance of NGOs on Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice.
Under the new leadership of Timothy Khoo, who is based in Singapore, PFI has established a vision to reach into every prison in the world, with three areas of emphasis:
improving prison conditions;
rescuing the children of prisoners who are at risk; and
communicating the redemptive love and transforming power of Jesus Christ.