Book on prison ministry authored by Capella University doctoral student

June 4, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS, June 4, 2007 – As the prison population in the United States continues to swell, it is more important than ever for prison rehabilitation programs to have a working blueprint for dealing with the shame, humiliation, and loneliness of incarceration. Dennis Pierce, a teacher/counselor with Jefferson County Juvenile Detention in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and a doctoral student at Capella University, has written a book that offers a new approach to rehabilitation that is based on his 30+ years of experience working within prisons, in the criminal justice field and working with youth/young adults. Pierce is pursuing a PhD in human services at Capella University (, which is an accredited, online university with more than 19,000 students.

Published by The Haworth Pastoral Press, Prison Ministry: Hope Behind the Wall presents a practical approach to reconciliation to help inmates develop self-esteem and an overall feeling of self-worth. It provides a resource for corrections professionals, chaplains, pastors, priests, and students working or interested in criminal justice, ethics, or counseling.

Some of the topics included in the book are:

meeting the incarcerated

defining prisons’ emotional ethos

dealing with human breakdowns

oppression in maximum-security prisons

components of empowerment needed for prison ministry


The book also includes case studies of four inmates and a glossary of prison terms. According to Pierce, it is particularly targeted to those working with incarcerated youth and young adults.


A former chaplain at the Joliet Correctional Center in Illinois (where the television series “Prison Break” series is filmed), Pierce says the book offers approaches to rehabilitation that he personally has seen work.


“The juvenile justice system is failing our young adults. People don’t understand what needs to happen to change this. If you leave them locked in their cells … warehousing them, nothing will happen. But if you engage them, things will happen,” Pierce explains. “What this book shows is what can happen if someone takes an interest in these young men. Things can change.”



About Capella University

Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited,* online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services, public safety, and psychology, and bachelor’s degree programs in business, information technology, and public safety. Within those areas, Capella currently offers 89 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 16 certificate programs. The online university currently serves more than 19,000 students from all 50 states and 56 countries. It is committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA), headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA),

Capella University, 225 South Sixth Street, Ninth Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552),


Learn more about earning an online degree at Capella University:

online education (,

online college (,

distance learning (,

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