This article appears in the News edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum
In March 2022, U.S. Representatives Peter Meijer and John Moolenaar got an insider’s view of the Calvin Prison Initiative. The congressmen traveled to Richard J. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, specifically for the purpose of learning more about the CPI program.
The day began with a round-table discussion facilitated by Heidi Washington, Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Other participants included Kyle Kaminski, Corrections Legislative Liaison; Warden Melinda Braman; Todd Cioffi, CPI Director; Kary Bosma, CPI Director of Operations; and Sid Jansma, Jr., Chair of the CPI Foundation. The group had a lively discussion about the impact that CPI has had on prison culture, and the transformative partnership that has developed between Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and the Michigan Department of Corrections.
After the discussion, the congressmen toured the correctional facility’s educational wing, talked with CPI students, and observed a CPI class in progress. They also observed vocational programs and toured the new state-of-the-art school building that was recently constructed on the prison grounds. The new school building will accommodate continued growth in the Calvin Prison Initiative: with Second Chance Pell Grants having recently been approved by the federal government, the number of students in the CPI program is projected to increase by 50% over the next five years.
We are grateful to Representatives Meijer and Moolenaar for their interest in the Calvin Prison Initiative, and we thank them for coming out to see the program in person!