Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'Faith-based row' program earns Governor's volunteer award

This is interesting; from a press release reprinted in the Huntsville Item:
The G4 Faith Based Row, a program launched in the Wynne Unit in Huntsville, received the Governor’s 2010 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award in recognition of its dedication to ministering to offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice [last week].

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston today during a ceremony held in Austin.

G4 Faith Based , which was the recipient of the “Most Innovative Program” award, is one of 20 individuals and initiatives from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation.

"The men and women recognized this year have promoted positive change both in those inmates who are incarcerated, and those who have been released,” said Livingston. “They have given selflessly to the State of Texas and we are grateful for their efforts.”

The G4 Faith Based Row is an off-shoot of the successful Faith-Based Dorm program that is being implemented at units across the state. The difference though is in the classification of the offenders who participate.

G4 offenders are classified as medium custody because of behavioral problems and as a result, live with certain restrictions. Through the innovative efforts of Wynne Unit Warden Vernon Pittman, his staff and dedicated volunteers, a row in the medium custody wing of the Wynne Unit became a faith-based row and lives began to change.

The G4 offenders began participating in Life Change Groups, emphasizing Bible education, personal accountability and ministry to others. As a result, the G4 offenders began to make serious changes in their behavior and in their lives and they began promoting out of this restricted custody level through the classification process. The Wynne Unit now has a faith-based row on a general population cellblock so that these offenders can continue their spiritual journey even as they are promoted to less restrictive custody levels.


Texas Lawyer said...

Huh. What a mixed bag of emotions this story brings up in me.

If it's working so well, then perhaps all the First Amendment guardians will Look the Other Way for a little while.

Anonymous said...

The faith based dorms are open to those of all beliefs. There are Muslims and Buddhists enrolled because they asked to participate. Among the benefits gained is understanding of others and peaceful means of dealing with those with whom you disagree. Warehousing people without programming does nothing but making people more anti-social. The goal of prison should be to turn out people that can live next door to you without being a threat. What possible objection can there be to doing something different?!!