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Crossroad Opens Satellite Campus in Europe

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LONDON, UK, Jan. 31, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Crossroad Bible Institute announces the opening of CBI United Kingdom, its inaugural European distribution center. This twelfth CBI satellite campus serves prisoners in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Overseeing CBI UK is Matthew Savage, also director of The Bible Network, the UK funding partner of Bible League International. Savage is establishing a strong Instructor base while the initial group of students, incarcerated at Magilligan Prison in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, begins the program. The students have been highly supported by their chaplain, who requested the program's implementation.
With approximately 147 per 100,000 people in prison, England and Wales have the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe. Since 1993, the prison population has increased from 41,600 to nearly 85,000. Scotland has a similar rate of incarceration, and, after its slight decrease in the 1990s, Northern Ireland's prison population has begun rising as well. Recidivism poses a significant problem: two-thirds of those that reenter society return to prison within two years.

Those of African-Caribbean and African descent are even more disproportionately represented in UK prisons than in their American counterparts. Islam is overrepresented as well, with Muslims constituting twelve percent of the prison population in England and Wales.

At a recent prison ministry conference in London, Ministry of Justice officials commented on the government's increasing reliance on voluntary and faith-based organizations. One representative noted that Christian organizations are "holding the hope" in this field.

With this governmental reinforcement, the support of prison chaplains and authorities and eleven more facilities poised to offer the program, CBI UK has tremendous potential for growth and impact. Savage comments, "We plan to recruit more volunteers in the coming weeks so that we are ready to receive many more student enrollments. With the help of faithful volunteer Instructors, we aim to make these valuable courses available to all."

Dr. David Schuringa, CBI president, expresses his support of the new satellite: "We continue praising God for the way that this ministry is expanding internationally. I look forward to seeing the impact of CBI United Kingdom."

Crossroad Bible Institute is a prison ministry in its twenty-sixth year of operation. With 40,000 students, CBI now has campuses on six continents with several more satellite campus openings pending. The program is provided at no cost to prisoners and their families.