Harrison County Inmates Welcome Youth Choir

Inmates at the Harrison County Detention Center in Gulfport saw and heard something out of the ordinary Thursday evening.

All 113 members of the Mississippi Baptist All State Youth Choir and Orchestra serenaded those involved in the faith based Life Learning Program, aimed at reforming inmates.

"Its exciting. This is the largest kind of production we have done. We don't have much that happens in this jail, regarding these kinds of things," said Joe Collins who heads the reform program at the jail.

Their mission is to get inmates ready to face temptations outside of these walls.

"Working through the local church community to get them involved in the lives of the inmates so that when they leave here, they will be involved in the local churches, in the community, and their lives will be changed because of it," said Collins.

One life already changed is inmate Scott Howell's. He has been involved with the program for six months.

"I have learned more about Jesus Christ. How he can impact your life. He can take away the bondage that is going on in your life. It brings truth to your life," said Howell.

Colllins says 62 percent of people released from jail return within one year. He also says this program defies those odds.

"Less than 15% of the graduates of the life learning program ever come back to jail at all," said Collins.

"After you get out, that's when the Devil tries to hit you, when you get out," said Howell.

For now, these inmates are struggling with their battles inside the jail. They say the choir's performance helps.

"To have them here to share in song and word with these men and women, it really just touches their lives and makes a huge difference in the inmates. It helps them to realize that someone does care about them beyond these walls," said Collins.