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Joe Marcucci


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Highrock Beyond Bars

Responding to America’s Prison Crisis

In answer to a call to solidarity with those behind bars, and in response to the command to “remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them” (Hebrews 13:3), Highrock Beyond Bars seeks to understand the complex issues surrounding the history, institutions and reform of the American prison system and then stand with the resurrected, ascended Lord in the ministry of wiping away tears and healing sorrow (Revelation 21:1-4). This two-fold identification with Jesus pulls us into arenas of discomfort so that by God’s grace we can comfort the afflicted.

Our growing ministry offers various ways to get involved. Whether you are looking to educate yourself about the topic of mass incarceration, or you are ready to jump in and start working directly with the currently or formerly incarcerated, we hope you will find a way to engage with the Lord’s work.

For more information, or to become part of this learning community, contact our Pastor of Outreach, Joe Marcucci, at

Highrock Beyond Bars

Fall 2023 Offerings

  • Voices of Reentry: Documentary Screening

    Sunday, September 24 at Highrock Arlington

    Learn more
  • Criminal Justice & The Church class

    Tuesdays, October 3-November 14 via Zoom

    Learn more

    • Highrock Beyond Bars partners with Partakers, a Massachusetts-based ministry that supports women and men directly impacted by mass incarceration, to recruit mentors to serve in one of two programs: College Behind Bars and the Partakers Empowerment Program.

    • Mentors are the lifeblood of both programs. Mentors promote dignity, build trust, and develop skills that significantly increase the mentee’s chance of successfully accomplishing her or his goals. The Partakers model is proven, with a 2% recidivism rate compared with national rate of over 50% and a Massachussets rate of 32%.

    • Through its College Behind Bars mentoring program, Partakers supports Massachusetts prison education by coordinating teams of volunteers who mentor incarcerated women and men as they pursue higher education through local universities.

      Mentors for College Behind Bars

      • Typically work in teams of 4:1 and never less than 2:1.
      • Commitment lasts as long as the student is taking college courses.
      • Expectations are one visit per month in team.
      • Meet with student on site or through video conference.

    • This Missional Community periodically offers a course featuring videos by author Dominque Dubois Gilliard, reflection sessions, and guest speakers that explores the profound tension in the United States—and in its churches—between the idea of incarceration as punishment and the spirit of rehabilitation. In his book “Rethinking Incarceration” Gilliard powerfully argues that God’s justice is relational, and inherently restorative. Examining the secular and church history through which we have ultimately arrived at having more people incarcerated than any other country in the history of the world, Gilliard illustrates how Christians have been complicit in constructing a justice system that is anything but.

      From Discussion to Action: Towards a Non-Zero Response

      Recognizing that our time, resources and expertise are limited, our hope is that each participant will walk away from this group with a non-zero, specific, doable action item. We want to respond to Jesus’ declaration that when we serve the prisoner, we serve Jesus (Matthew 25:34-46).

    • If you would like to begin corresponding with someone who is incarcerated in order to offer friendship, support and spiritual encouragement, we have a budding letter-writing program.

    • The topics of justice and mass incarceration are complex and deep. Besides the opportunities listed above, Highrock Beyond Bars encourages anyone who wants to consider these topics with others on a regular basis to join the Incarceration & Injustice MicroChurch over Zoom on Sundays at 8:30 AM.  For more information and/or to receive the Zoom link, contact Craig Parker at

    Other groups you may be interested in...