The certificate in Prison Studies can be earned within the M.Div. program and provides students with the opportunity to engage specifically with people in prison and the system that imprisons them in the context of theological education and formation for ministry.
Students in the certificate program take a course on restorative justice and an additional prison studies elective. They also participate in a Project TURN course taught on-site in a local prison and complete a field education placement in a prison setting, a local church doing prison ministry, or a non-profit organization that works with incarcerated persons. In addition, students join a designated prison-oriented spiritual formation group or they can petition to complete an approved research project.
Beyond the certificate program, the program in Prison Studies also brings speakers to the Divinity School to address issues related to justice and prison ministry within the larger community. Student groups focused on prison ministry and justice also host regular events, including panel discussions and screenings of documentaries on justice issues.
Rev. Sarah Jobe, an ordained Baptist minister and graduate of Duke Divinity School, was instrumental in developing the prison program at Duke.
Project TURN creates a learning environment in which incarcerated men and women and Duke Divinity School students can learn alongside one another as classmates. Classes balance academic training and personal spiritual development to offer a unique experience in which diverse students stretch their boundaries and enlarge their imaginations.
The Power of Story
Kimberly Brown talks about the first Project TURN class, the power of story, and her current work with OnInmate.com.
Normally, the requirements for the certificate are:
- PARISH 809: “Restorative Justice: Prison Ministry and the Local Church”
- Participation in a Project TURN course taught on-site in a local prison. These classes are accredited by Duke Divinity School, primarily taught by Divinity School faculty, and can be found in the Divinity School course offerings.
- Completion of one further course addressing relevant questions of justice, atonement, race, gender, conflict, ministry, etc., and approved by the director (courses designated as "Prison Studies Electives"). An appropriate directed study approved by the certificate director may be substituted for this requirement
- Completion of a suitable field education placement where you are placed either within a prison setting, a local church doing prison ministry, or a non-profit working with incarcerated persons.
- Participation in a designated prison-oriented spiritual formation group, or, on petition, completion of an approved research project.
For more information contact:
Associate Professor of New Testament and
Director of Prison Studies