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TBN Second Chance was birthed in 2007 when Paul Crouch and the rest of Trinity Broadcasting’s leadership grew aware of some disturbing realities about prisons in the US. The vast number of people in the prison systems and the low potential for hope, gave TBN cause to reach out to these men and women. In fact, if you visit the description of their mission on the TBN Second Chance website, it begins with explaining why prisoners need the help of the church. There are more than 2 million people incarcerated in American prisons today and about 5 million more are on probation or parole. That means that 1 in every 32 American adults is under the supervision of our correctional system. Just as tragic, the government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports from its most recent study that more than two thirds of prisoners who are released from prison will return within three years by further violating the law.
It is not a surprise to most that rehabilitation is a challenge for all correctional facilities. Crouch and TBN saw an opportunity to help these convicts to not just leave prison, but leave the criminal lifestyle. As Bible believers, we know that education and job skills are good but incomplete. We cannot expect people to change without God doing a work in them. Like all of us, these prisoners need the message of the gospel. These men and women are desperate for messages of hope and redemption.
Not only does TBN want to help these individuals, but the Bible has given direction to the church to go into prisons with the redemptive message of the gospel. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that visiting prisoners is directly ministering to Him. “I was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” TBN Second Chance also references Isaiah 42 in their literature. “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness…to free captives from prison.”
The essence of the Second Chance project is to get TBN’s broadcast into prisons. Prison Chaplains and prison visitation ministries, like some of the work done by Brandon Crouch, do a wonderful work, but they cannot find the time or man hours to speak to every prisoner all of the time. With the broadcast, these prisons have twenty four hours a day of Bible teaching, preaching, uplifting music, and faith based programs. Second Chance hopes that the constant access to positive messages of hope and redemption will communicate to the incarcerated their need for a savior and God’s love for them.
Because TBN feels a strong conviction about this ministry, the network is offering the stations for free to prisons all over the country. The satellite, technical equipment, installation, and constant broadcast are all donated to prisons at the request of their respective chaplains. TBN, the parent station, offers teaching, worship, sermons, news, and other faith based programs. The Church Channel features round the clock sermons of dynamic preachers from a variety of denominations. Younger inmates and juvenile offenders enjoy JCTV, TBN’s station for teenagers and young adults. It has faith based programming and music like TBN, but in the current style and high energy of the younger generation. TBN Enlace has original programming entirely in Spanish, which is a great draw for the Hispanic inmates.
In the few short years that the program has been in existence, Second Chance is already having a significant impact. Chaplains from prisons all over the country are supportive of the network and speak highly of its results. As an example, a prison administrator in Hondo, TX said, “when (juvenile residents) turn on JCTV and hear the music and view the music videos and listen to testimonies from a lot of their peer groups we really feel the impact doubles and triples…JCTV has opened many doors to ministry opportunities.” In addition to the great feedback from those working in the prisons, TBN Second Chance was also a Beacon Award Finalist in 2009. This award is to recognize excellence in communication and public affairs throughout the cable industry.
TBN Second Chance is doing a wonderful work in the lives of inmates all over the country and it plans to do so for years to come. From the ministry’s literature: “Our mission is to offer America’s inmates a second chance to make good choices by providing positive, life-affirming television programming 24 hours a day. “