TOM | Passionate about souls

Major Tom Ford, The Salvation Army’s Correctional Secretary — responsible for prison ministry in the Western US. Photo by John Docter

The United States is number one in a lot of categories, but being tops because of the number of people in our prison population is nothing to be proud of. We have 4% of the world’s population and 20% of the prisoners. That’s simply too many.

Regardless of how you feel about crime and punishment, keeping people out of prison ought to be a priority.

Fortunately, it’s top of mind for Major Tom Ford, Territorial Correctional Secretary — the leader of our prison ministries — for The Salvation Army in the Western US.

It’s not that prison ministry is his passion; introducing people to Jesus is his passion. Especially people in prison.

“I want them to experience all that God has for them. I don’t want them to miss out,” says Major Ford.

Statistics show that individual faith-based mentoring programs drop the recidivism rate (the proportion of those who return to a criminal lifestyle and eventually prison) down to between 14 and 25%. It’s that kind of statistic that proves Major Ford is on the right track.

Mario’s story is the perfect example.

His conversion came after sitting in a prison cell, bored out of his mind. The only thing in that cell was the Bible left behind by the older couple who came every Sunday to lead a study and tell the prisoners that they loved them. Because of their loving presence, Mario picked up the Bible and started to read.

Through mentoring and visitation, Bible study correspondence, and support for inmate’s families Major Ford hopes to help many more people like Mario.

More startling statistics about the US prison population:
:: 48% of prisoners don’t receive a regular visit or mail
:: 94% of those in prison have some sort of addiction
:: Children of incarcerated people have a 70% chance of ending up in prison too
:: And, kids whose parents are in prison are 4 times more likely to be involved in criminal activity

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If you want to financially support or volunteer to help The Salvation Army minister to the prison population, please click here to email Major Tom Ford.