We are privileged to have leaders in the field of correctional ministry and reentry serve as instructors in the School for Correctional Ministries. They hold impressive academic credentials, proven records of service within a correctional setting and a passion and fervor to raise the standard of care offered to those impacted by crime and incarceration.
Dr. Karen Swanson,
The Institute for Prison Ministries
BA, Cornerstone University
BS, Calvin College
MA, Western Michigan University
Ed D, Northern Illinois University
Karen has been the Director of the Institute for Prison Ministries (IPM) since 2005. As Director, she oversees the Charles W. Colson scholarship program at Wheaton College and pursues the goals of IPM through collaborations, networks and strategic partnerships that provide leadership and training to those engaged in correctional ministries for the advancement of the Gospel.
Karen began her correctional ministry by teaching in the Life Learning Program at Cook County Jail, Chicago, IL. She also served three years as the Executive Director of Life House Ministries, a Christ-centered reentry program. She continues to serve in jails and prisons and on a reentry ministry board of directors.
Karen serves as faculty in the Christian Formation and Ministry department at Wheaton College and teaches courses in correctional ministry. She earned her doctorate from Northern Illinois University in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum Leadership.
Dr. Tom Beckner
Director of Criminal Justice Program
for the School of Professional
Studies at Trine University
BA, Milligan College
MA, Kent State University
MS, Georgia State University
Ph D, University of Tennessee
For more than 30 years, Dr. W. Thomas Beckner has been engaged in correctional ministry—as a prison chaplain, as senior staff of non-profit prison ministries, as a teacher and administrator in Christian colleges, and as a consultant to correctional ministry agencies. He is currently the Director of Criminal Justice Programs for the School of Professional Studies, Trine University. Dr. Beckner founded the American Chaplaincy Training School (ACTS) in 1985, an organization that provided educational programs for prison ministry volunteers and correctional chaplains across America and in Canada. In 2008, he collaborated with the Institute of Prison Ministries to merge ACTS into the newly established School for Correctional Ministries.
He is a producer of a six-program video series, “I Was a Prisoner . . . Did You Visit Me?”, co-editor of Effective Jail and Prison Ministry for the 21st Century, and author of several articles on restorative justice.
Chaplain R. Steve Lowe
Founder, President,and Executive ChaplainPacific Youth Correctional Ministries
MA, Talbot Theo. Seminary - Biola University
MA, Pepperdine University
MA, California State University, San Bernardino
Doctoral Course Work, Claremont University
As a former probation counselor and therapist and today as a seasoned juvenile correctional chaplain, Steve has provided over 40 years of professional institutional service to California's San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. Supervising the Protestant Chaplaincy Ministry for the Orange County Juvenile Justice Complex's seven institutions since 1981, Steve's purpose is to help fulfill the Great Commission with incarcerated and hurting youth, adults, and their families.
As the Founder, President, and Executive Chaplain for Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries, an international chaplain-placing ministry, Steve also assists Christian organizations and penal agencies as a consultant in program origination and development. He has experience as an adjunct faculty member, specializing in criminology and juvenile deliquency.
Steve is an ordained minister and is joined in ministry by his wife Jan. Steve and Jan have three grown children: Jeff, Morgan (deceased), and Jessica.
Dr. Michael Reighard
MA, Central Bible College
MA Pastoral Counseling, M Div, D Min,
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
Since entering the Chaplaincy Ministry in 1989, Dr. Michael L. Reighard has served as Chaplain in three United States Federal Prisons, pastoring inmates of security levels from minimum to maximum. His pastoral experience at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners encompassed several types of Chaplaincy ministries, including correctional, hospital, HOSPICE, and mental health. During Michael's previous ministries, he served churches in Wyoming, Iowa, and Idaho. In his post-doctorate teaching career, Mike has traveled internationally, providing education in diverse ministry topics. He is the founder and President of Jericho Commission, a Christ-based reentry mninstry for ex-offenders. His administrative abilities, experience in leadership, superior skills in interpersonal communication, and his sincere desire for others to achieve, has allowed Michael to become a remarkable trainer to those who desire creative "front-line ministries."
Rev. Michael R. Smith, Sr., D. Min.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
BA, Fayetteville State University
M. Div., Southestern Baptist Theological Seminary
D. Min., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Michael Smith is presently serving as the Chief Chaplain of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Washington, D.C., where he provides national leadership for BOP chaplains serving around the country. He was licensed in 1986 and ordained in 1988 at Martin Street Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C. and served in the pastorate at congregations in North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. He has served as a chaplain/pastor with state and federal prison systems for over 20 years. He was honored as the 2002 Chaplain of the Year by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator of the Year.
Dr. Smith also seeks to reach out to lives impacted by crime and incarceration by supporting prison chaplains, training churches in prison ministring, discipling those within the prison setting, and promoting justice and mercy in our society. He is a writer and recently co-authored a chapter for the book entitled, "Ministry with Prisoners and Families" published by Judson Press. His writings have also been published in "Dialogue" ABC Magazine, "Baptist Informer" newspaper, and "Christian Educator" NBCUSA magaine.
Dr. Smith is also a graduate of the Non-Commissioned Officers Leadership Academy, Bad Tolz, West Germany, the Masterlife Discipleship Leadership Training Course, Asheboro, N.C., Wilberforce Forum's Centurion Program, Lansdowne, VA, Chaplaincy Managerial Training with the U.S. Department of Justice, and other distinguished programs.
|Henry Wells III, MAPC, LLPC, ICAADC
New Creation Community Outreach, Inc.
BA, William Tyndale College
MA, Ashland Theological Seminary
4 rd. Year PhD, Wayne State University
Henry Wells currently serves as the program manager for New Creation Community Outreach which is the parent organization for the TOP program, an ex-prisoner ministry that serves as an international model for ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. Henry is a product of the city of Detroit where he attended Detroit Public Schools. He graduated from William Tyndale College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies, in 1992. He received a Masters of Arts degree in Pastoral Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary, in 1996. Henry is currently working towards a Ph. D. in Applied Sociology at Wayne State University with a concentration in Family Systems.
Henry's professional experience includes over 20 years of working in non-profit human service-delivery organizations, 12 years as a professional urban youth worker, and 10 years of experience in pastoral counseling with an extensive background in adolescence and pre-marital counseling. In addition to B. A. and M.A. degrees, Henry is a certified advanced addiction counselor and a limited licensed professional counsel with the State of Michigan.
Henry has been married to his wife Deborah Wells for 19 years. They have two children Robert, 12, and Melanie, 9.
Found and President,
Christian Assocation of Prisoner Aftercare (CAPA)
Founder and CEO,
New Creations Community Outreach, Inc.
BA, William Tyndale College
MA, Wayne State University
Joseph Williams is the founder and CEO of New Creations Community Outreach, Inc., an international ministry model for serving prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. He annually hosts the nation's largest faith-based prisoner reentry conference and is the founder and President of the Christian Association of Prisoner Aftercare (CAPA). He is also the author of Sheep in Wolves' Clothing: When the Actions of A Christian Turn Criminal, a gripping memoir that recounts his powerful story of redemption and transformation. He received degrees from William Tyndale College and Wayne State University. Joe has worked with and inspired thousands of prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families since 1982. Recognized as a true visionary, he has become one of the most sought after prison reentry authorities in the country and is a frequent speaker and panelist at reentry forums around the nation. Joe has testified before numerous bodies, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Institute of Corrections, on the subject of prisoner reentry.
Joe has been married to his wife, Sharon, since 1985. They have two sons, Anthony and Stephen, two daughters, AnnDrea and Gabrielle, and one granddaughter, A'Layah.