Program Goals

The Gospel of Jesus Christ mandates that His followers visit prisons and bring their best gifts when they do so.

As institutions of higher education, Hope College and WTS will bring the gift of learning to those who often feel disgraced, dehumanized and forgotten. While justice is necessary, so too is the call to mercy and grace. 

“The chance to be a college student is another reminder that God is not finished with me.” —Student, 2019

A Hope-Western Prison Education Program student speaking at a lecturn

The Hope-Western Prison Education Program seeks to: 

  • Extend the Hope College and Western Theological Seminary missions to those living in incarcerated environments
  • Foster the transformation of the hearts and minds of incarcerated people and all involved in the program, thereby enlarging their imaginations for purposeful living as flourishing, beloved children of God made in His image and likeness
  • Ease the burden to the community by reducing recidivism, lowering tax burdens associated with the corrections system, and improving the safety of and culture for prisoners and prison staff
  • Bring together persons of good will from a variety of political, ideological and theological perspectives

“Going to college will equip me with tools to build my community instead of destroy it.” —Student, 2019

Program Outcomes

Hope College students completing a Faith, Leadership and Service degree will have:

  • A biblical, historical, and theological framework for understanding Christian faith, thought and action
  • The skills needed for lives of leadership and service
  • The ability to integrate their faith with their understandings of both leadership and service
  • The disciplines of mind, heart and spirit that will foster their growth as leaders and servants
  • A deep understanding of the multi-cultural and religious contexts in which they will be leading and serving