Malachi Dads To Be First Graduates of New Jail Program (press release copy)

Download original document: Malachi Dads press release


April 9, 2013
Contact: Chaplain Michael Sowell
(815) 978-0715

Malachi Dads To Be First Graduates of New Jail Program

FREEPORT– A seed planted by Stephenson County’s government is bearing its first fruits next week when students graduate from a course on fathering known as “Malachi Dads.” Last year, the County funded a Chaplain Education Program to provide training to prisoners at the County Jail.

“I began thinking about my Dad who was absent in my life when I was growing up…then I think about my son,” said Chaplain Michael Sowell, director of the program. “I can’t allow other men that I come into contact with to be impacted by that same cycle of crime. I have to do something. I have to be a man of God and teach other men how to be a man of God as well. I have to be a Malachi Dad.”

The program is named for a passage in the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Malachi: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.” The curriculum is based on a proven method first developed at Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison by the Awana organization. Local volunteers focus on five areas of training—fathering, spiritual, educational, moral and vocational—to help detainees prepare to build a stronger family after they are released.

Studies show the children of inmates are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than their peer group, but programs like Malachi Dads are designed to reduce that rate and the recidivism rate of fathers.

“We want to change our community one inmate and family at a time,” Sowell said.

Other certificate programs for inmates, including a GED program, wil be launched in the near future. The graduation will take place on April 16 at 1:30 pm at the Stephenson County Jail, 1680 E. Singer Drive in Freeport, and is open to the public.


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