Bikers Join Operation Starting Line to Reach Out to Prisoners in Texas

Bikers will team up with Operation Starting Line to host kick off events in 21 Houston/ Beaumont-area prisons
( [email protected] ) Sep 14, 2004 04:41 PM EDT

To help break the cycle of crime by reducing ex-offender recidivism, bikers will join Operation Starting Line's musicians, comedians, athletes and ex-offender speakers, for a high-energy kick-off event at the Lychner State Jail in Texas, October 1-5, 2004.

Operation Starting Line is a faith based prison program that offers spiritual and educational training opportunities to inmates.

According to Operation Starting Line, more than 35,000 men, women, and youth—an average of nearly 3,000 offenders per month—will be released from Texas prisons this year and will return to their homes in Texas.

As prisoners return home, Texans are fearful that the crime rate in their communities will rise again. According to the data from the Bureau of Justice, more than 60 percent of prisoners are re-arrested within three years of their release.

Data shows that faith-based programs offered by Operation Starting Line have significantly helped to reduce recidivinism.

In addition to the October in-jail event, Operation Starting Line will also host a "Break the Cycle Tour" - a 99-mile ride that is open to the public - to raise awareness for the need to reach out to prisoners and their families. The tour begins at Foundry United Methodist Church in Houston.

Below is a list of some facts collected from the website of Operation Starting Line regarding its successes

•Of the inmates who completed a faith-based program, the likelihood of their return to incarceration was reduced by two-thirds. Currently more than 65 percent of inmates who are released end up back behind bars. —The Criminal Justice Policy Council in Texas

•A recent study of two prison rehabilitation programs (faith-based and vocation-based) conducted in two Brazilian prisons shows that although rates of recidivism (rate of re-arrest) for both prison programs were lower than the national estimated average (60-70 percent), the faith-based program showed a significantly lower recidivism rate (16 percent versus 36 percent for the vocation-based program). (Texas Journal of Corrections, Feb. 2002)

•A recent University of Pennsylvania study shows that graduates of a faith-based prison in Texas were 50 percent less likely to be rearrested, and 60 percent less likely to be re-incarcerated, compared to the matched comparison group.

•Participation by prisoners in multiple in-prison Bible studies conducted by Prison Fellowship (an Operation Starting Line leader) reduced their recidivism by 66 percent.

—Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Justice Quarterly

•New York Theological Seminary’s 12-year study of an in-prison seminary program at Sing Sing showed a similar 60 percent reduction in recidivism.