Early in 2002, Rachel's House was born to address the growing need for prisoner-reentry support. Lower Lights Ministries observed a disturbing trend among those living in our neighborhood: a high number of the households are female-headed and women play a vital role in family leadership, but many of our mothers are caught in the cycles of crime, drugs and prostitution, thus leading them to prison. While at least 95% of current prison inmates will reenter society, in Ohio, 27.1% will recidivate.

Rachel’s House exists for previously incarcerated women to experience the love of God in a physically and emotionally safe environment, empowering them to establish healthy relationships with God, family and community. Rachel’s House provides transitional housing and comprehensive services for 6-24 months directly following incarceration. The overarching goal of the program is to decrease recidivism (those returning to prison) by helping women re-establish themselves in positive familial and community roles.

"Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children are gone. But now this is what the Lord says: 'Do not weep any longer… There is hope for your future.'" —Jeremiah 31:15–17

Rachel's House Program

From beginning to end, Rachel's House walks beside women in their journey to freedom.

Program intake begins at the Rachel’s House Bible Studies at Ohio Reformatory for Women and Franklin Medical Center. After attending the Study for 8 consecutive weeks, a woman may choose apply to Rachel’s House. In 2016, over 200 women were served through our Bible Studies at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and Franklin Medical Center. The power of choice is a crucial element of Rachel’s House. Women cannot be court-ordered or mandated to come to our program.

Lower Lights Ministries chooses to address the many barriers that stand in the way of successful reentry, rather than focusing on just one. Our eight service areas address an expanded version of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s named “criminogenic needs.” Additionally, each aspect of programming is trauma-informed, recognizing that “Females are admitted to prison with substantially higher levels of criminogenic needs in the substance abuse/mental health domain.” Because of this holistic approach, Rachel’s House is able to have a more dramatic impact on women released from prison and the families to whom they return.

Alongside committed staff, a Rachel’s House woman builds relationships with program graduates and 8-11 mentors, Community Support Team members, and other volunteers throughout her time in the program. This network of relationships is critical for her successful reentry.

Rachel’s House addresses the need for restoring healthy relationships within families by working toward reconciliation. We provide these services because we know the family is deeply affected by the impact of incarceration. Light the Way Home was created in response to a clear need for family reunification and increasingly independent supportive housing for Rachel’s House graduates. When implementing Light the Way Home, Lower Lights Ministries has utilized the same holistic approach, incorporating family-strengthening services as a critical element.

The effectiveness of the program is most easily reflected in the exceptionally low recidivism rate our program earns (9% for the last 3 years; 14% program life). Rachel’s House tracks its program participants, graduates and those who did not finish the program for life through Probatum, an ex-offender tracking software as well as the Ohio Offender Search, an online search engine provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Rachel's House Current Funding Partners

The Harry C. Moores Foundation

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The Beck Foundation

Lord of Life Lutheran Mission Endowment 

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