BIBLE-BASED
TRAUMA HEALING
IN PRISONS & JAILS

Research from Baylor University
and American Bible Society 

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CAN GOD’S WORD REACH HEARTS IN JAIL?  

A majority of incarcerated people have experienced high levels of trauma. Many struggle to envision a hopeful future, maintain healthy relationships, or believe that God could love them. Learn about the Bible’s role in alleviating trauma among inmates.
MOST INMATES HAVE EXPERIENCED TRAUMA

In this study, 86% of participants had experienced at least one type of traumatic event. Indicators of trauma include complicated grief, depression, anxiety, aggression, and suicidal ideation. Trauma deteriorates our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and is often one of the biggest barriers between hurting hearts and God.  

TRAUMA HEALING BRINGS RESTORATION

Bible-based trauma healing guides people toward long-term restoration by combining mental health best practices and biblical truths. For this study, 349 inmates participated in five-day trauma healing groups led by trained volunteers from the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry (GNJPM), a trusted partner of American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing Ministry. Three months after the program’s completion, participants continued to exhibit positive results.   

This study includes:
  • Information on trauma and mental health crises in jails and prisons  

  • Historical overview of faith and volunteerism in America  

  • The role of religion in prevention and rehabilitation efforts  

  • Overview of American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing program for inmates 

  • Methodology, research questions, and findings 

  • Implications for justice system reform 

Dr. Byron R. Johnson

“No other known intervention accomplishes so much good for highly traumatized jail inmates in such a short period of time.” 

Dr. Byron R. Johnson

Study Co-Author and Founding Director of the Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion  

Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin

“This study shows that trauma healing – and the invitation to meet the ‘Wounded Healer’ through the Bible – has the power to change lives that have been impacted by the most tragic circumstances.”  

Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin

Executive Director of Trauma Healing,
American Bible Society

Jon Evans

"For many, trauma healing has been the “missing link” in helping them to reconcile their past and accept God’s plan for their future. This research project, launched with the help of Good News Chaplains, empirically demonstrated what was already being observed clearly – the Word of God transforms hurting lives!"

Jon Evans

President, Good News Jail & Prison Ministry

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