When I led a group of Oregon officials on a field trip to Angola Prison in January of 2015, they experienced something that was totally unanticipated.
The group consisted of two state senators, two state representatives, a Department of Corrections person, a Criminal Justice Commission representative, someone from the Attorney General’s office and several other officials.
The purpose of our visit was to see, first hand, how Angola had changed from one of the bloodiest and most violent maximum security prisons to one of the safest. It changed when the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary implanted a four year college degree program inside the prison. The student/inmates were transformed, both morally and spiritually, through an intense Biblical studies program.
We spent three days on the prison grounds visiting the seminary classroom, the hospice program, the reentry facility which housed the auto repair shop and the administrative offices. We spoke with a group of Angola Seminary students and listened to their stories.
One of the common themes we heard was this…“when I was in New Orleans, or Baton Rouge, committing crimes and doing drugs, I was in prison. But when I was sentenced to Angola and got enrolled in the Bible seminary, I became free!” On the outside “in prison,” on the inside “free.” The Oregon officials were impressed.
Fast forward to October of 2019. Corban University, in partnership with Paid in Full Oregon and the Oregon Department of Corrections, began a four year college degree program for Oregon adults in custody. The degree will be in liberal arts emphasizing psychology, social services and leadership. Moral and spiritual rehabilitation will occur. Jesus said we will become free when we get to know him. Our students will become free in prison!
Thank you, as always, for your prayers and your financial support for the students in the Corban extension at OSCI.