Bringing hope behind bars

Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry celebrates 30th year

By Cody Willoughby -

MIAMI COUNTY — Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry, an organization first established in 1988, is celebrating its 30th year of ministry.

Rev. Joseph Everette, director and CEO of Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry, claims the goal of the organization is to witness to those within the community who need support the most.

“The aim is to get the word of God to people who have made mistakes in order for them to walk a straighter line,” Everette said. “We’re there to provide them encouragement and counsel them through a dangerous time in their life.”

Composed of 12 volunteers, Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry conducts Bible studies with local inmates every week on a regular schedule within the confines of each facility.

“Sunday morning, I lead a regular service at the Miami County Jail downtown,” Everette said. “On Tuesdays, our female volunteers hold a Bible study with the ladies downtown. On Wednesdays, there’s a men’s study.

“We also conduct studies at the facility on 25-A for women on Tuesday nights, and for men on Thursday nights.

“There are volunteers as well that go into West Central for the youth every Monday.”

Everette explained that the various devotions administered to inmates were highly based on the Bible as a tool to be consulted regularly.

“We give inmates a Bible that want one, and they get to keep it and take it home,” Everette said. “We aim not to preach to people, but rather teach them to use the Bible to find solutions to whatever problem they may have.”

Everette, who has a PhD in Logics and is an ordained minister, has recognized that despite the volatility of the prison environment, his work and that of other volunteers has proven effective.

“We’re dealing with people who are unpredictable, but who we also know need help,” Everette said. “Some of them move on to other facilities from the jail and take their Bible with them. Sometimes we get letters for the incarcerated thanking us for helping them out. Some will contact us after getting released who are looking for a church.”

Everette also voiced that Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry has remained largely independent of outside donations in recent years.

“There were churches that once offered donations, but since the economic downturn, we’ve been self-supported,” Everette said. “We don’t have donations coming in from the outside. We do it on our own, because we’re all volunteers, and every dime that comes in goes back out through Bibles and other resources.”

Everette claimed that seeing so many take the steps to turn their lives around has been its own reward throughout the organization’s history.

“For me, it’s just a blessing to be able to see people recognize that there’s still hope in the world,” Everette confirmed.

Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry is a non-profit organization, and is associated with the American Correctional Chaplains Association.

Fully Pardoned Jail Ministry celebrates 30th year

By Cody Willoughby

Reach Cody Willoughby at

Reach Cody Willoughby at