"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. ... Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:35-40
Oakland City University implemented the prison ministry program to eight correctional facilities in the Southern Region of Indiana in August 2012.
In collaboration with the Department of Corrections, OCU offers educational programs in ten southern Indiana correctional facilities. Our programs offer basic education services to offenders who do not have a high school diploma or are illiterate. These men and women are equipped with the necessary skills to gain employment upon release. One of the greatest factors in high recidivism rates is the lack of marketable job skills. Oakland City University programs, servicing over 1,400 students, gives offenders the vocational education necessary to find gainful employment.
Most importantly, as we educate prisoners, we do so in the love of Christ, understanding that only the Gospel can truly change human hearts. People behind bars are humans who have made bad decisions and those bad decisions have consequences. However, no one is beyond the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ.
As part of our mission, we believe it is vitally important that our institution brings the message of God’s love to Indiana prisoners. Not just to provide a different way of living but to help people find the true meaning and purpose of life. Some have inquired about the state of Indiana being involved with a private, Christian institution of higher learning. Oakland City University has consistently received high marks and good results from our work with inmates. In fact, most of OCU correctional facilities received an “A+” final grade. OCU’s grades were considerably higher than other servicing institutions this past year.
There are countless stories of prisoners who have gone through Oakland City University’s programs and released to lead productive lives. Enter to Learn…Go Forth to Serve applies to more than the OCU main campus. Every OCU student carries the image of God, made in His likeness, and as Jesus said, we are to be with them in prison. Because when we have served the least of our brothers… we have served Him.