We’re Making Prison a Place of Transformation

Established in 2019, we’ve been making a positive impact to our prison systems across the country through resources, education, and support around correction staff members, inmates, and the greater community. All of our resources are 100% free, allowing us to rapidly change a underserved part of our society. Learn more and become a part in making prison a place of transformation.

Our Mission

Make Prison a Place of Transformation

The prison system typically has four purposes. The biggest problem is that the fourth purpose—rehabilitation— does not prepare people to leave. That requires transformation. Transforming America’s prisoners requires transforming the way America thinks about prison and its overarching purpose.

  • 3Learn Why We Started Fourth Purpose

Our story

The Need for Change Was a First Hand Experience

Josh Smith, Founder and CEO, knows the need for transformation in our prison system. He was born into poverty, raised by a single mother, and was sent away at the age of 11 due to abuse. Before he was 16 years old, Josh was convicted of 10 felonies. By the age of 21, he was convicted for his involvement in drug trafficking. Since his release in 2003, Josh has set out to transform his life and those around him. After building and selling the largest home improvement business in East Tennessee, he has dedicated a large portion of his wealth to impacting prisons so that others may find the opportunity to transform their lives through prison.

  • 3Learn How We Make Prison a Place of Transformation

Our Focus Areas

Staff Resources

We are deeply committed to the corrections workforce. We provide thought-provoking innovative tools and training that is designed to help staff perform their duties in ways that lead to a healthier workplace culture, and better staff and inmate outcomes.

Inmate Resources

In prisons, we provide inmates with inspiring programming, relationships, and resources they need so they can live with meaning and purpose while re-entering society. These resources enable inmates to start leading better lives the day they enter prison.

Community Resources

We engage the community in the true mission of corrections: To enhance public safety and prevent any future crimes. We partner with businesses, educators, faith-based organizations, and social service providers to increase private sector participation.

  • 3Learn About Our 3 Pillars of Transformation

Staff Resources

In order to achieve the mission of making prison a place of transformation, attention must be given to the workforce that operates and leads these facilities. Recruitment and retention problems continue to rise to critical levels.

The workforce is already strained by low pay, low prestige, high overtime, and high trauma exposure. Therefore, Fourth Purpose Foundation is developing tools and resources designed to invest in the personhood of the staff.

This aims to help them build resilience, find a sense of meaning in their work. In turn, this encourages a workplace culture that leads to better inmate outcomes and improved staff wellbeing.

Inmate Engagement

Prison can quickly become a place of isolation. Fourth Purposes works directly with prisons across the country, community organizations, and third party vendors to ensure content is available that is not only uplifting, but provides. a sense of hope.

One of our programs, Visitation 2.0, is a free digital series of hope-filled, uplifting, Christ-centered content delivering messages of love and encouragement to individuals and families impacted by incarceration, as well as correctional staff.

Community Engagement

About 600,000 people get out of the nation’s prisons every year. Unfortunately, the formerly incarcerated return to custody in alarming numbers. Recidivism research shows that 6 in 10 will be rearrested within three years of their release. 

Mentors and volunteers serving as aspirational role models have an enormous impact on the lives of inmates and are often seen as “family.” Inmates overwhelmingly report that mentors and volunteers are essential to their transformation.

  • 3Learn How We Support Like Minded Organizations

We Support Like Minded Organizations

We’re dedicated to networking and supporting organizations across the country that are making prison a place of transformation. If you’re a non-profit and have well vetted programs that have had a positive impact on the prison system, we welcome you to apply for a grant.