Prison officials in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations are welcoming Crossroad Bible Institute into their facilities. These officials have seen the benefits of CBI’s prison ministry and want to extend those benefits to other institutions, said CBI Australia fieldworker Terry West.

“These [Pacific Island] countries are delighted to have CBI in their prisons, and invariably CBI is the only committed ministry,” West added. “The senior prison officials from Papua New Guinea actually begged me to have the program in all the prisons.”

While visiting women in Papua New Guinea’s Bomana Prison, West met with senior officials who were enthusiastic about the program and the way it transforms prisoners’ lives. Among these officials was Assistant Commissioner of Corrective Services Michael Mosiri, who told West that since the CBI courses had been introduced in Bomana, the prison population had decreased, no prisoners had attempted to escape and no released CBI students had reoffended. These results are even more remarkable, explained West, because about half of the women at Bomana have been convicted of murder. “We have to understand that these inmates have nothing,” he said. “CBI came to Bomana and gave them hope.”

The Papua New Guinean students are also experiencing many material benefits as a result of completing CBI’s courses. According to West, the assistant commissioner affirmed that all CBI students with certificates of completion have been successful in their parole applications. In addition, the students find full-time employment upon leaving the prison, since employers look favourably on CBI’s certificates.

“These results confirm what we already know,” said CBI President Dr. David Schuringa. “Religious instruction and successful reentry are strongly linked, and we’re excited that Pacific Island officials understand the value of CBI’s discipleship courses.”

CBI Australia hopes to extend the ministry to a prison in the city of Lae soon. At present, there are 156 CBI students in Papua New Guinea; their lessons are corrected by 300 volunteers from CBI Australia, which also serves students in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.