Prison Fellowship International Transforms Lives of the Disgraced and Forgotten

    Leaders from World's Largest Prison Ministry Meet in Toronto June 28-July


WASHINGTON, June 1, 2011 /CNW/ -- Representatives from more than 100 member countries, who work with people who have been forgotten or shunned by most of society, will meet in Toronto June 28 through July 2 at Prison Fellowship International's World Convocation.

Prison Fellowship International (PFI), the world's largest prison ministry with 119 member countries, works to improve the moral, social, physical and spiritual well-being of prisoners, ex-prisoners, their families and victims of crime.

"The task of prison ministry is daunting," said Ron Nikkel, PFI's president and CEO. "World Convocation provides a place where those of us working in prison ministries can come together and motivate each other. It is focused on how we can work more effectively, but also on the stories we have to tell."

As prison populations around the world grow rapidly, extreme overcrowding, poor ventilation, food shortages, substandard sanitation and outbreaks of violence are the norm:


    --  In Benin, cells overflow with filth and so many prisoners that they
        seem like a tangle of limbs to visitors;
    --  In Ecuador, prisoners may wait eight years before meeting with a
    --  In Papua New Guinea, women are reportedly gang-raped;
    --  In Rwanda, at the horribly overcrowded Gitarama Prison, roughly one in
        eight inmates dies from disease or violence;
    --  In Venezuela, officials estimate that more than 360 prisoners are
        killed each year; and
    --  In Zimbabwe, bodies are stacked in the hallways due to overcrowding in
        the morgue.


PFI volunteers visit places like these, where other people fear to go, to work with prisoners.

The speakers at this year's convocation include Pierre Allard, former president of the International Prison Chaplains' Association; John Rucyahana, president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda; Theary C. Seng, founder of the Cambodian Centre for Justice and Reconciliation; and Philip Yancey, author and journalist.

Former prisoners, chaplains, volunteers, politicians and prison officials from more than 130 countries are expected to attend the World Convocation, which is held every four years. The convocation also will host an international prisoners' artwork exhibition and competition.


    More information is available at


    A. Larry Ross
     Yount      972.267.1111


SOURCE Prison Fellowship International

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