New Program Helps Inmates Turn Their Lives Around - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/25/05

New Program Helps Inmates Turn Their Lives Around

Forty men listened intently as Chaplain Joe Collins talked about the obstacles they will face when they leave jail.

He said "Suddenly, maybe another charge pops up.  It takes you back down two steps. You're not planning for failure, but what you're planning for is it's not going to be perfect".

The men live in cell block C-B. They admit making wrong choices that landed them in the Harrison County Jail.

Michael York said "I've been in a lot of trouble most of my life. I've done some good things, but the bad outweigh them".

York got tired of being in and out of jail. So he enrolled in the new "Life Learning Program" run by the "Good News Jail and Prison Ministry".

Chaplain Joe Collins said "I try to relay some basic foundational life skills. Skills like family, marriage, dealing with anger, dealing with conflict, dealing with addictions".

The lessons center on social skills, mixed with spiritual teachings.

Darnell Franklin said "I've just been filled with great joy since the time I've been here, and I know I'll focus on being just here in prison, but have been freed on the inside by God's grace".

Louis Santee said "My whole life has changed over, and I'm saved with the Lord coming into my life".

For Michael York, it's a chance to rebuild his life and relationship with his five children.

York said "It's time to step up to that plate and play the role that I should have been playing for a long time.  It's not their fault. It's mine".

Chaplain Collins said "I hope they leave here to become better fathers and husbands to their families. When they leave, they'll go out of here as men of character and integrity".

The men will take the classes for 15 weeks. They'll graduate in mid-May. By the way, there's also a "Life Learning Program" just for female inmates at the jail.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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