Inmates Learn To Change Their Lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/23/05

Inmates Learn To Change Their Lives

After 15 weeks of soul searching, a group of Harrison County inmates say they are ready to do what it takes to change their lives.

The Good News Prison Ministry runs a life learning program that teaches inmates how to live according to Biblical principals. On Sunday, the first men's class graduated.

"I've been a drug addict most of my life and locked up since I was 13-years-old," shared on inmate. "I never did anything but hurt that lady back there. I'm just glad that God put it in her heart to still find a way to love me."

With their crimes, they've hurt the people that love them most. Now 22 men can say that when they were locked up, they were set free.

Another inmate talked of that freedom.

"It is truly amazing to come to a place you hate, jail, and wake up one day and realize you have been chosen by God to walk and talk His word."

For 15 weeks the inmates studied how to apply God's word to their lives.

"With classes that make biblical living practical with everything from how to balance your check book to how to find answers to life's questions," said jail chaplain Rev. Joe Collins.

The graduation symbolized the new lives these inmates have chosen for themselves. It's the miracle Donald Ray Ladner's family has prayed for.

His nephew Scott Ladner said "He's wanting to go to church more than ever. He's not as temperamental as he was before. He's wanting to change his life."

"It hurts to have to see him in here," said sister Lillie Ladner."I'd really think this is the best thing that will get him cleaned out and dried out and get him on the right track to where he should be."

The families say they're not sure why this program worked when others failed but they're glad it did.

"I thought it's the best thing that could have been done for these guys and women that are into these drug problems," said Lillie Ladner. "I think this the best thing that could have ever happened here in the Harrison County Jail."

The inmates and their families say blessings can found anywhere including jail.

The life skills program began with 40 men and 22 graduated on Sunday.

Jail Chaplain Reverend Joe Collins says only five dropped out and the rest were either transferred to another jail or released.

by Danielle Thomas

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