Operation Starting Line to Launch Easter Prison Outreach in Texas

( [email protected] ) Apr 08, 2004 04:31 PM EDT

Operation Starting Line will open doors for prison inmates to live a new life starting this Easter season. The faith-based outreach program is joined by a collaboration of hundreds of Texas volunteers and 24 national faith-based organizations, during the week of April 10-23, who will equip some 32,000 inmates in 17 correctional facilities in central and southeast Texas with spiritual guidance and life skills, inviting them to a change of life by first a change of heart.

"Prisons aren't going to stop the crime problem, no matter how tough y ou get, because crime is the result of a breakdown of moral values. It springs from the human heart," said Chuck Colson, founder and chairman of Prison Fellowship, a partner in Operation Starting Line.

Colson will be delivering an Easter message to women prisoners and their children at four Gatesville activities. He has also spent time on the other side of the bars when he was convicted as a Watergate felon. However, through meeting Christ Colson was changed in prison.

His messages will launch a two-week long event schedule involving hundreds of volunteers from local churches and the community working with facilities in central and south that is expected to have an impact on the participating prisoners.

Findings by social scientist indicate reduced future criminal behavior by former prisoners is a “moral change of heart.” 30,000 inmates were released on parole and returned to Texas neighborhoods in 2002.