Greetings fellow readers, Siblings all,
Bill and Share asked for information to post on Urantia Association International's prison placement project. UAI provides this service in conjunction with Urantia Foundation's gift-book program. It is organized and operated by a subcommittee of UAI's Dissemination Committee. The DC fosters and promotes four main projects directly related to dissemination of the text: Prison placement, translation support, library placement and book fair presentations.
Years ago Urantia Foundation's gift-book program seeded the Book in every US prison library that would take it, state and federal. Now inmates from all over the US write Urantia Foundation asking for this "amazing" book they've heard about or glimpsed, wanting to know how to receive one? what it is? where it came from?
UAI formed a team to respond to these inquiries, called the Prison Inquiry Response Team. The team handles approximately 25 inquiries per month, in English and Spanish. Upon receiving an inquiry, a PIRT member sends the inmate an offer of a free Book---if they will pay the shipping fee. If they can't pay the shipping, a reserve fund will cover that cost as well.
Many inmates have little else but time on their hands. In such a setting the revelation's effect on their lives can be profound and immediate. The effect on criminal recidivism is not yet known, but it cannot help being positive. We do know how the revelation affects inmates still in prison because they send PIRT letters of amazement, appreciation and gratitude, like this one, recently received by team member Joy Brandt:
"WOW! That seems a wholly inadequate expression of my reaction to the UB, however, at the same time, that about sums it up.
"First off, I'd like to express my thanks for your prompt response to my inquiry. I have the thirst for knowledge and the luxury of time to devote to it, and at present I am approaching page 500....
"I've devised a study plan which includes many readings of the entire book, but for now it consists of a simple straight through reading and take in what I can. I've found that patience is key, as many ideas (beings, functions, relationships, etc.) are often reiterated in different words or contexts as they have a more direct bearing on things more closely related to us.
"Gee! Do I sound nearly as excited as you said I'd be? If not, it's due to my inadequate expression, not my attitude. This FEELS right, and bridges the gap which has existed between my mind and the Bible.
"I want to thank you once more and assure you that your program -- PIRT -- has saved a soul."
The prison placement project is showing every sign of progress, of bearing good and lasting fruit. Perhaps someday it can be expanded to other nations, then the whole planet. Last year the project placed over 300 Books in US inmate's hands (and one in South Africa). For more info on this and other UAI dissemination projects click this link:
Fraternal regards, Rick Warren
Chair, UAI Dissemination Committee