Faith-Based Prison Changes Hardened Criminals

In Texas, faith is proving to be the antidote to crime.

The state has 156,000 people behind bars, each costing taxpayers $18,000 a year. Within three years of their release, nearly half are back.

Yet, one maximum security prison in Tennessee Colony, Texas, is changing those statistics by changing the hearts of hardened criminals.

The unit is called Beto 1, where 100 tiny cells are stacked three floors high. It seems just like any other cellblock, until the men start talking.

“E” wing is the faith-based cellblock, one of two at the prison that are trying to use faith to get 400 hardened convicts to change.

Rev. Casey Miner leads the program.

To get into E wing, inmates promise to obey strict rules and practice their religion. Casey and a team of volunteers spend time, earn trust and teach that faith is the antidote for a life of crime.

Three nights a week they meet for lessons in the chapel.

In the two years the program has been in existance, there have only been five major rule infractions-- four of them for tobacco use.

Even better, 46 men have been released on parole and only one has returned.

… but there have been cases where faith-based criminal probationary programs pressured inmates to convert to their particular brand of religion. Which is unconstitutional.

"DETROIT - After exhausting all avenues in the Michigan courts, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Catholic man who was criminally punished for not completing a Pentecostal drug rehabilitation program.

“This man was punished for insisting on the right to practice Catholicism and refusing conversion to the Pentecostal faith,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director. “The Michigan courts would not acknowledge his First Amendment rights, but we’re confident that the federal court will.”

Twenty-three-year-old Joseph Hanas of Genesee County pled guilty in the Genesee Circuit Court to a charge of marijuana possession in February 2001. He was placed in a “drug court” for non-violent offenders, allowing for a deferred sentence and dismissal of the charges if he successfully completed the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program.

Unbeknownst to Hanas when he entered the program, one of the goals of Christian Outreach was to convert him from Catholicism to the Pentecostal faith."

Once again, the ACLU was successful in defending the Catholic faith.:thumbsup:

Chuck Colson has had great success w/ prisoners w/ his prison ministry by bringing the man to God.

This article is from 2005. Is there any information on how the case was resolved?

The ACLU won for the Catholic guy. His probation was not revoked for avoiding the attempts to convert him.

The ACLU is an extremely left-winged and anti-Christian organization; I don’t understand why any Christian (and Catholic) would support their work overall.

I wouldn’t say that. I also would not hijack this thread.

The ACLU, in addition to saving the probationer from the folks trying to convert him away from Catholicism, represented:

*The archdiocese of Bridgeport when Connecticut tried to make it register as a lobbyist

*A white guy and a black woman who were charged with a felony in VA when they got married.

*The Klan as to free speech issues.

Sure, it has taken some odd-ball positions. But, on balance, the ACLU has done a lot of good, irrespective of political stance of the client.

The problem with civil liberties is that everyone merits them.

How am I hijacking this thread when I was just responding to your ACLU comment?

"Following are some of the stated goals of the ACLU, from its own published Policy Issues:

* the legalization of prostitution (Policy 211);
*the defense of all pornography, including CHILD PORN, as "free speech" (Policy 4);
* the decriminalization and legalization of all drugs (Policy 210);
* the promotion of homosexuality (Policy 264);
* the opposition of rating of music and movies (Policy 18);
*opposition against parental consent of minors seeking abortion (Policy 262);
*opposition of informed consent preceding abortion procedures (Policy 263);
*opposition of spousal consent preceding abortion (Policy 262);
*opposition of parental choice in children's education (Policy 80)" 

More from this article can be found at

How can one support an organization that supports this kind of ungodliness?

I would also suggest reading The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values.

Well, Bishop Lori in Bridgeport thanked the ACLU for its support. Some of their positions I can support and some not. Simple as that.

Have we exchanged one prison for another?
Addictive personality - criminal - for addictive personality - Christian?
And what of the underlying structure: If it be psychotic how will the new Christian interact with those who are not of like mind?
Outwardly Christian - inwardly criminal?
Most of our inmates in the prison system are not beyond redemption, most are decent human beings.
Some are psychopaths who manipulate a system - what is the reward / secondary gain of changed behaviour? Of behaving in a Christian fashion?
I am confused as to the purpose of prison: Is it to rehabilitate, “You can cope in a regimented prison system, therefore you can cope in society where the structures are not so rigid”?
Is it to punish? Is it for revenge?
Keep pushing down an individual (even by what appears Christian determination) and there will come a point where the individual will rebel. At first rebellious not knowing boundaries, then outwardly compliant, then rebellious ‘acting out’ for ‘self-rights’. Now justified by “God is on my side”?
Is an individual’s behaviour nature or nurture? Externally or internally motivated?
Are we setting a cancerous course - internalised anger - social or individual?

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