Monday, October 7, 2013

Bible College Helps Some at Louisiana Prison Find Peace


2. Category of Issue: Religion and Education

3. Level of Issue: State

4. This article concerns individuals who are serving a sentence in life and looking for a chance to make good within themselves. 

5. This affects individuals by allowing them the chance to rehabilitate their life and find a way to better what they did. This can potentially affect families as well due to the fact that inmates who are on parole and get the chance to re-live their life outside of prison, due to the studies in this article, say that they are less likely by a large percentage to not be as violent and find their moral rehabilitation. 

6. When I first started reading this article I had a very unfavorable attitude about the Christian college being available for inmates. I felt this way due to the fact that in my mind these inmates are on maximum security for vicious crimes they committed and needed to serve their time by rotting in prison and remembering what they did. It was crazy to me that someone who chose to live their life this way before getting caught were allowed the opportunity to earn the degree from a college while serving their time while on the other hand teenagers everywhere who have never committed a crime and who have worked their butt's off their whole life do not have the chance to attend college because of financials. Why should these criminals have the chance to earn a degree when much more deserving kids out there never get the chance? But as I continued to read my attitude started to shift a little bit.  As the article went on the Warden kept talking about "moral rehabilitation" and shifting the inmates focus from violence to religion. I was worried at first that it would discriminate against all those who weren't Christian, but the school allowed all religions in and inmates even had certain stipulations they needed to achieve before they were admitted. Not saying that this makes it better, but they are at least having to work for something they want. Also, something that made me question my attitude was the drastic drop in violent behavior. In the 90's there were 1200 attacks on inmates to each other and about 300 on the officers themselves. Within this past decade there were only 300 within the inmates and only 55 on the officers. This number plummeted with the acceptance of the Bible College. Whether or not it is the preaching of religion, having the inmates focus their time on something and working towards a goal seems to have an over all positive affect. Other states such as Texas, Mississippi, and Iowa are looking into adapting these same studies and opening colleges within their doors. Even though these inmates committed an unforgivable crime, they are forever spending their lives in prison and, if they want to and have the right intentions of bettering their life, they should have this ability to earn and preach and learn educational and religious things. I do not necessarily believe in the fact that it is a Christian College and that is what is preached, however they still allow all religions to attend. Also, I want to point out that earlier I stated if the inmates want to and have the right intentions they should be able to better their life and try to earn forgiveness. I stress if they want to and have the right intentions because The Louisiana State Penitentiary is still a maximum security prison and those who are considered dangerous or unwilling to stay involved are still held on solitary only allowing to be in a cage for an hour a day. I believe over all that the college is a good chance for the criminals to stray away from their past life and earn forgiveness from the wrong-doings they committed.


  1. As I read this article, I was pleasantly surprised. We do not hear about this type of situation very often. A bible college for inmates that will be imprisoned for life, could only be a positive thing for those who wish to join. I understand many non-Christians views about only having a Christian school available, but they are not being forced to go. The way I see it, they have the option. No matter what religion is taught, it will still instill positive morals and hopefully direct inmates towards the right path.
    Personally, I believe that anyone can be forgiven for their sins and wrong doings. Sometimes it seems so hard to compare yourself and your actions to that of a criminal facing jail time for life. In reality, we are all humans, and humans make mistakes. I have always learned that in God’s eyes, all sins are equal. So in this case, if you are a believer you will be forgiven no matter how severe the crime you have committed is.
    The way our laws work today, criminals will face consequences for their crimes. I do not think there is anything wrong with that. I think keeping anyone from having religious freedom is wrong. In saying this, you do have the right to study any belief that you wish, it just happens to be Christianity that is taught in the school. I liked to hear that the school accepts people of all religions. The fact that there are qualifications to be admitted into the college is a great thing. It will give those who want to join the bible school the opportunity to put their efforts towards something and if they want it bad enough they will succeed. This is just teaching another positive trait that those in jail may not already possess. The requirements are not very high leveled but they do consider those that may not have been able to finish high school, and give those people a second chance. The article said they must have a high school degree or G.E.D. , good discipline records, and the recommendation of a non inmate Chaplin. This seems to be a noble yet obtainable set of requirements for these inmates to achieve.
    These criminals will not ever leave these walls. They are in for life, after all. They do not have many freedoms but it brings joy to my heart to see that those that need/want God in their life will be able to become educated by these types of teachings. If this also helps with the violence and outbursts in the jail, which seems to be the case, then that’s just one more positive in my mind.

  2. I liked the article. My Aunt Debbie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and she goes to the prison there on Saturdays to teach a bible study class. When she started the class only 7 people came. Now that number is over 40. She says she has seen changes in the men and this gives her hope for the world. I would agree with that. Just because these men are locked up doesn't mean they can't find peace and some purpose to their lives. They might not be able to influence anybody on the outside world or that might be their only redemption- to pass on what they've learned to someone else. Usually when someone goes through something hard, they take away something from the experience. Hopefully they can tell someone who will listen to not make the same mistakes they did. As far as I know, there's nothing better you could really learn from going to prison except the Gospel (if you’re on death row or a lifer and you can’t leave anyway. Otherwise, I would say a G.E. D. would be more useful). I think it's great that different religions (Muslim, Jewish, and Mormon) all attend the same bible class. These men don’t deserve much out of life but I think they deserve this.