A version of the following post originally appeared on the Prison Fellowship blog (a/k/a, my day job). Check it out sometime!
A controversial new plan to prepare inmates for reentry into society is being proposed in Louisiana. The idea is to move a thousand prisoners from a minimum-security prison in the state and transfer them to Angola Prison, a maximum-security prison once infamous for violence and decrepit conditions. There, the minimum-security prisoners would receive mentoring from their Angola counterparts. Four “mentees” would be assigned to a mentor, and would spend all waking hours together – attending vocational training, eating meals, and taking part in evening worship and Bible study. Upon completion, the prisoners from the minimum-security prison would be released.
As Professor John Rottman of Calvin Theological Seminary describes it, “The goal of these programs is moral rehabilitation, and the instrument of rehabilitation is the Gospel of Jesus.”
It doesn’t sound like a typical prison program. But Angola isn’t your typical maximum-security prison, and Burl Cain is not your standard prison warden.