Prisoners Learn Life-Changing Principles
Violence, immorality, and drug deals are things that used to characterize the lives of these inmates. However, thanks to a special training program being used in an increasing number of prisons throughout the United States, they are now growing in their walk with God and receiving practical instruction on living the Christian life.
The program, known as Life Principles Community, is facilitated by dedicated chaplains and volunteer workers, and is designed for those who are seeking to learn a better way of life. Inmates volunteer to participate in this 3- to 6-month program that teaches the Basic Seminar, Anger Resolution Seminar, Financial Freedom Seminar, and Commands of Christ material.
A Growing Program
In 2004 the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) piloted the Life Principles Community in one of its faith-based pods. Now, two years later, it is being used in 28 facilities, and CCA is planning to expand it to 12 more locations this year.
One of the CCA facilities that implemented the program last year is the Diamondback Correctional Facility. At this medium-security prison in Watonga, Oklahoma, God has used the program to do a mighty work in the lives of 120 inmates in the special pod.
Many of the men in the program have given testimony of the life-changing results they have experienced as God has worked in their hearts through the training they received. One inmate, Brian Collins, stated, “It is so beneficial for to me to know how to resolve anger versus just manage it. … This is why I came to prison—for these teachings that I am learning right now!”
Inmate Bob Weier shared, “[We] are going through withdrawal from an evil world, … trying to get all that sin out … the program is equipping us in helping [us] heal and get rid of that stuff.”
After an inmate is released from prison, the national recidivism rate is very high. However, among the men and women who participate in the Life Principles Community program, the recidivism rate has drastically reduced as a result of the lasting changes that take place in their lives. Monte Michaelson, coordinator of the Life Principles Community Program at the Diamondback Correctional Facility has been thrilled with the results: “The IBLP material lays a foundation for the rest of the inmate’s life by providing life-changing truth in a 12-month residential program. In reality, it is more than a program; it is a ‘lifestyle.’ ”
Related Article: How Prisoners Are Finding Freedom (April 2004)