CELEBRATE RECOVERY INSIDE
Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Springfield, MO
About Celebrate Recovery Inside

Our mission at Celebrate Recovery Inside (CRI) is to bring a Christ-centered, life-changing recovery program to people who are incarcerated and want to overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

History of CRI

Celebrate Recovery Inside is an offspring program of Celebrate Recovery which began at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Mr. Jan Thomas, a retired prison warden from New Mexico and the national director of CRI up until February 29, 2009, saw a need to reach men and women in prison with the Good News of Hope. Celebrate Recovery Inside was started to meet that goal. Eventually the program expanded from New Mexico throughout the United States and now has international locations as well. The success of the program can be seen in a study done on a group of 124 men prisoners in which the recidivism rate dropped from 80% to 26%. In March 2009, Hector Lozano, long-time facilitator of CRI in California prisons and the Substance Abuse Treatment Coordinator for the Sierra Conservation Center prison at Jamestown, California, assumed the position of CRI National Director.

History of CRI, Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, MO

The CRI ministry based at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, officially began in September 2006. The driving force behind starting the ministry was Bob Gannon, the current CRI Director at Ridgecrest. In 2002, Bob began working in a jail ministry in Lawrence County, MO. Unfortunately, they did not have much success keeping the men off drugs and alcohol or from returning to jail. Next, Bob tried to work with some local churches to develop a re-entry type, church sponsored program but none of the churches seemed interested in helping with that type of ministry. While attending Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Bob heard about a program they were starting called Celebrate Recovery. Les Palmer headed up the CR program so Bob met with Les to discuss the possibility of starting a Celebrate Recovery jail or prison ministry.

On September 15, 2006, the first CRI meeting was held at Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland, MO. That first night we had six men in attendance and on February 11, 2007, we began our two step-study groups with a total of fifteen men. At this time, we began forming the volunteer staff for our CRI ministry team. In March 2007, the inmates began running their own CRI program with Ridgecrest Baptist volunteers acting as facilitators. Celebrate Recovery Inside at OCC is one of the few CRI programs in the United States that is operated solely by inmates. Volunteers from Ridgecrest and other area churches just distribute materials, perform training, and attend meetings and intense Step-Study programs run by the inmates.

Beginning this ministry was a great leap of faith which God has rewarded with miracles. During the step-study portion of the program, we have seen several men turn their lives over to God. Families have been restored, employment hurdles have fallen, and these men have truly been transformed through God’s grace. The CRI ministry team gets to see these men grow in their faith and mature.

About Ozark Correctional Center

The correctional center is a unique, level-2 custody, drug treatment facility for men. After successfully completing the drug treatment portion of the Department of Corrections program, inmates can earn probation and parole earlier than their sentence dictates. This component offers great incentive for good behavior and committed participation in the program.

OCC History
  • 1950-1961 - U.S. Air Force Radar Station
  • 1961 - U. S. Government leases station to Missouri. Station opens as Fordland Honor Camp MO DOC, a satellite unit of the Missouri State Penitentiary. Donald Wayne Wyrick is appointed as the first Commander over Fordland Honor Camp in November.
  • 1979 - Facility name change: Ozark Correctional Center
  • 1981 - Housing Unit I constructed
  • 1982 - 20 year lease is up---OCC becomes state property
  • 1984 - Perimeter fence installed with 24 hour electronic motion detection system
  • 1987 - Housing Unit II constructed
  • 1990 - Population increases from 490 to 650
  • 1993 - OCC achieves highest offender work release assignments in Missouri
  • 1994 - Drug Treatment Program ‘Therapeutic Community’ implemented
  • 1998 - Transitional Program implemented
  • 1999 - OCC accepts mental health status 3 offenders into long-term treatment