Houston, Texas, August 22, 2010. After many months of working with Senior Warden Burl Cain at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, we have reached a landmark in Texas prison history. We are going to see a real Seminary Campus established inside one of our maximum security prisons. And that prison has just been named. It is Darrington Penitentiary, in Rosharon, Texas. Darrington Penitentiary is home to about 1800 inmates, ranging from their late teens to their 70’s. It’s a maximum security institution, with Senior Warden Brenda Chanel at the helm. And within months they will be the first Texas pentitentiary to have an accredited Seminary begin an extension campus with the razor wire and brick walls of the prison.
]The Heart of Texas Foundation has been asked to serve as the facilitator in bringing the first Seminary Bible College to Texas. Consequently we have been working closely with Senior Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, who began a landmark Seminary program over 10 years ago. Warden Cain has a liking for Texans, and offered Grove Norwood his help in creating a Seminary Bible College within a Texas Prison. Since April of 2010, Grove has been working with TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice), The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth and Houston, and the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, as well as many Foundation supporters, to bring about this historic event. The Southwestern Seminary officials, including President Paige Patterson, Provost/Executive Vice President Dr. Craig Blaising, and Houston Campus Dean Dr. Denny Autrey, have agreed to support the new Campus with their full accredited curriculum. Their Professors will teach the 4-year classes within the program. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, led by Mr. Brad Livingston, will provide the security, staffing, and facilities to allow the voluntary Seminary program to be offered in their system. The Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, with Executive Director Dr. Jim Richards, and Chief Financial Officer Mr. Joe Davis, will provide funding assistance in the form of faculty compentation to the new Seminary. Private funding developed by The Heart of Texas Foundation supporters, will allow new computers, a theological library, and other initial expenses to be met.