New Prison Chapel Helping Change Lives

After three years of waiting, the South Mississippi Correctional Institute's new chapel officially opened Thursday. The $800,000 facility was bought using donations and built by inmate volunteers.

Many of the inmates were excited to see the chapel open.

"It's a beautiful... like I said we just praise and thank God for everything he's done," said inmate Antoine Carter. "It gives us hope and our own place to serve God."

Other inmates say finding religion in prison has helped them turn their lives around and they believe the new facility will help others do the same.

"Through coming to know God you learn how to forgive and be at peace, not only with yourself, but those that have hurt you," says William Pittman who is also an inmate.

Chaplains who have served in other prisons with religious activities say they too have seen the difference it's made in inmate's lives.

"It makes a tremendous impact on those who have opened themselves and allowed God to work in their lives," said Sister Kathleen Spurlin.

State officials are excited about the new chapel too.

"A lot of these men here, the 2214 here at this prison have never met God and that's why I'm so glad they have this chapel to come fellowship," said Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps.