Relaymedia

Faith-Based Program Implemented to Encourage Inmate Rehabilitation

( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2004 09:40 AM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -— A new agreement was made between Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Chicago-based Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) to provide spiritual direction as a way to change the lives of inmates across the nation.

According to Business Wire, the two organizations have developed a voluntary, faith-based program of inmate rehabilitation that will be offered at eight CCA facilities this year. But eventually, the program will be expanded to serve inmates at all 64 CCA correctional facilities around the country. CCA expects by the end of 2004, more than 1,000 inmates will complete the program.

"We have always had chaplains and counselors at our facilities and have seen the positive effect that spiritual counseling can have on an inmate's life," said Jim Seaton, CCA chief operating officer. "As CCA continues to evolve and enhance our broad faith-based programming, we approached IBLP to assist us in creating a prototype because they have expertise in faith-based programming."

IBLP has involved in prison ministries and faith-based programming for eight years in more than 60 prisons and jails in the U.S. but this is the first time for IBLP to develop such an extensive program.

"We chose to work with CCA because its leadership knows that the spiritual component of rehabilitation is vital," said Bill Gothard, founder of IBLP. "We have helped CCA design this program not only for support in the facilities, but also to help inmates successfully transition back into society."

The four to six months programs are offered to all inmates, regardless of religious background. The programs don’t require nor encourage religious conversion. Inmates in the program will be assigned to a designated unit where they will learn to socialize based on the principles they learn from the program in which inmate learn to promote integrity, personal responsibility, while encouraged to put away self-centered interests.

"We hope to create a culture where inmates can reflect on their spiritual lives," said Dennis Bradby, CCA vice president of Inmate Programs. "Inmates will experience up to 732 hours of faith-based activities after six months in the program. Activities include journaling, character work, anger management courses, community service, mentoring, and optional worship services and study groups."

Bradby says the program's goal is to enhance inmate rehabilitation and quality of life, and ease inmate transition into society, with the ultimate aim of decreasing costs associated with recidivism, crime and overcrowding.

In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program, CCA and IBLP will implement a study to measure cognitive thinking and behavioral changes of inmates before and after receiving the program. The study will measure physical aggression, opposition defiance, blaming others, lying, pessimism, mislabeling, stealing and self-centeredness.

CCA and IBLP will also measure the effectiveness of the faith-based program by assessing the number of grievances and incident reports in the facility.

The sample model of the program will be tested in eight CCA facilities, including: Bay County Jail and Annex, Panama City, Fla.; Cimarron Correctional Facility, Cushing, Okla.; Coffee Correctional Facility, Nicholls, Ga.; Gadsden Correctional Facility, Quincy, Fla.; Kit Carson Correctional Center, Burlington, Colo.; New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility, Grants, N.M.; Silverdale Facilities, Chattanooga; and Wheeler Correctional Facility, Alamo, Ga.

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About IBLP:

Founded in 1961, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) is a Biblically based, not-for-profit, nonsectarian training and service organization dedicated to serving families, youth and leaders worldwide, through training in Biblical principles. IBLP offers seminars in Biblical principles, anger resolution, family, marriage and finance; secondary and higher education programs; and a variety of publications and resources. In addition, IBLP has prison, orphan, troubled youth and children's ministries. The organization has 11 national and three international training facilities, and has expanded its ministry to New Zealand, Russia, Romania, Mongolia, Australia, Taiwan and Mexico.

Source: Business Wire