The Prison Action Committee (PAC), CCU’s oldest ministry, is a volunteer committee serving as a voice for those incarcerated. The PAC supports both staff and volunteer pastoral care for inmates at Dauphin County Prison, training for churches and individuals wanting to support returning citizens, and supports community re-entry initiatives. The PAC works in partnership with the Dauphin County Work Release Center, the Capital Region Ex-Offender Support Coalition (CRESC), and numerous local churches and prison ministries in carrying out these efforts.
Want to get involved? PAC meets monthly, on the second Thursday at 8:00 a.m., at the Dodge City Restaurant, 1037 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, PA. Contact Darrel Reinford, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 230-9550 for details.
CCU supports an Associate Chaplain who provides spiritual guidance and assistance for male and female inmates at Dauphin County Prison. The chaplain works with volunteer groups and provides pastoral contacts to more than 100 inmates a month, counsels inmates one-on-one, provides chapel talks, works with volunteers, and speaks in the community about prison ministry. He also chairs the mentor support group that meets monthly and coordinates the monthly Community Connections breakfasts. The Prison Action Committee provides 25% of the salary of the Associate Chaplain, with Dauphin County funding the remainder of the costs of this position.
Work Release Worship Services
Every Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm, the PAC provides a worship service for inmates of the Dauphin County Prison Work Release Center. Inmates are transported to CCU's location at 413 S. 19th Street, Harrisburg. A different church provides the worship service each week in CCU's sanctuary, with Sunday School groups meeting prior to the service at 3pm. On average, 25-30 men and women attend from the Work Release Center, and their family members are able to join them. Churches are always needed to provide services. Through the variety of services, we hope to minister to person's while in work release, and our hope is an inmate may find a church to connect with following their release. Please consider having your church join this effort.
Upcoming Event: Work Release Worship Annual Celebration Service (Oct. 27, 2019)
Healing Communities Training
We train churches to become Stations of Hope as part of the national Healing Communities initiative. A Station of Hope is a congregation who commits to be intentionally welcoming those affected by the criminal justice system, such as offenders and their families, as well as victims of crime.
Community Connections Breakfasts
The Prison Action Committee coordinates monthly breakfasts at community churches as a support and inspiration for the men and women in work release and prison transition programs. Each month a different church provides breakfast and an inspirational speaker. Speakers are often ex-offenders who can share from their experience and faith journey. Churches are needed! Please contact the CCU office to schedule a breakfast, or learn of upcoming breakfasts if you would like to visit and learn.
Mentor Support Training
The Prison Action Committee trains mentors, using Prison Fellowship's training curriculum, to be a support to inmates while they are still incarcerated. Mentoring can be a slow, often painful, process. Proper training and support for the mentors themselves is necessary and helpful. If you would like to join an upcoming training session, individually or with a group from your church, please contact Carolyn Pertusio at (717) 838-5820.
Pat Paxton works to keep inmates and returning citizens connected with churches. She calls pastors and other designated visitors that have been named by inmates as their spiritual contact. Pat is the director of Lighthouse Ministries transitional housing for women.