Private program graduating Texas' first 'inmate pastors'



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thirty-three Texas prisoners are graduating from a behind-bars seminary program this weekend — part of an initiative producing what organizers say are the first "pastor inmates" in state history.

State Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who heads the chamber's Criminal Justice Committee, says 185 prisoners are working to earn college degrees in biblical studies, including Saturday's graduates.

The program only offers Christian and biblical studies, is privately funded, and is taught by professors from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary visiting prisons.

Whitmire says Texas is "still the toughest state in the union" on violent offenders, but that the program has improved prisoner morale and reduced violence against guards.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the program would have been impossible "without the hand of God."

Sound:

%@AP Links

257-a-04-(Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, R-Texas, at news conference)-"to become pastors"-Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says 33 Texas prisoners will graduate from a behind-bars seminary program this weekend. (7 May 2015)

<<CUT *257 (05/07/15)££ 00:04 "to become pastors"

256-a-04-(Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, R-Texas, at news conference)-"hand of God"-Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says the first 33 of 185 seminary students in Texas prisons will graduate this weekend. (7 May 2015)

<<CUT *256 (05/07/15)££ 00:04 "hand of God"

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast