Prison Fellowship, the nation’s largest prison ministry, recently laid off 72 workers due to a tight budget.
Religious News Service first reported about the specific number of employees that were let go due to organizational restructuring.
“Like many nonprofits in the wake of this economy, Prison Fellowship has had to deal with shrinking resources and rising costs,” said Prison Fellowship Executive Vice President Frank Lofaro, in a statement released Tuesday.
“Organizational change is always difficult when it involves a staffing adjustment. While we have worked hard to retain as many of our talented team members as possible, we ultimately must accomplish our mission while responsibly stewarding our resources,” he said.
The Christian Post attempted to contact Prison Fellowship for more details of the lay-off, but the ministry declined to be interviewed.
Founded in 1979 by Chuck Colson, best known as former President Richard Nixon’s aide who went to prison over the Watergate scandal, Prison Fellowship is a Christian ministry that reaches out to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and families of prisoners in all 50 states and in 110 countries worldwide.
In the United States, Prison Fellowship programs are offered in some 1,300 correctional facilities with the help of some 8,500 partner churches and 14,000 volunteers. Since Prison Fellowship began, it has served more than 1 million prisoners.
News of the Prison Fellowship lay-off comes about a year after another famous Christian ministry, Focus on the Family, announced lay-offs of 110 workers in early August 2010. The influential family ministry had been reducing the number of staffers since 2008 due to budget constraints. It had reduced its workers by about half in August 2010 as compared to the number it had in 2002.
Besides lay-off news, Prison Fellowship also recently made headlines for appointing a new chief executive officer, Jim Liske. Liske, who served as senior pastor of Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, Mich., succeeds Tom Pratt, who had served as the ministry’s interim president since October 2010. Liske officially began his CEO duties on July 18.