The Darrington Seminary: Building a Culture of Safety and Forgiveness
MORAL REHABILITATION THROUGH SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION.
Moral rehabilitation is what we’re after. Moral people don’t rob, steal, take your car, your life. Moral rehabilitation is the direct result of spiritual transformation. When a person’s heart changes, their behavior changes.
Warden Burl Cain, the longest sitting warden in America, says “We can educate, train, and teach trades and skills, but without the moral component, without a change in their hearts, we are just making smarter criminals.”
The Darrington Seminary, modeled after the now world-famous Angola Seminary, is currently the largest prison Seminary (“Bible College”) that we know of, in the world. And it should be: Texas is the largest prison system in the United States.
Governor Perry Endorses The Heart of Texas Foundation
and the Darrington Seminary
The Darrington Seminary, funded by The Heart of Texas Foundation, and sponsored by The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, continues the state-wide effort to permanently improve the culture in the Texas Prison System. This large, new Texas Prison Seminary is unique to all but one prison in America (we modeled our Seminary after that of the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s at Angola, LA). The men of the Darrington Seminary will change the Texas prison system from the inside out, and from the bottom up. That is what has happened at the Angola penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana as a result of their Seminary, its private funding, and their state officials allowing the effort. Their violence rate has dropped nearly 75% since their Seminary opened. What was once known as “America’s Bloodies Prison” is now America’s safest prison.
What makes the approach so different from anything that has been done in Penal history in America? The Angola Model, now proven to be a major element in penal reform, is basically this:
- The Seminary students are made up ONLY of “lifers” and other inmates with extremely long sentences.
- The graduates of the Seminary won’t be getting out when they graduate; they will stay inside the system, and help transform the system from the inside out. Inmates listen to their own; they give far greater credence to the voice of their own than they do to the voices of free-world volunteers.
- The Seminary students, upon Graduation, will be sent to other prisons in the state, where they will serve on the staffs of the prison Chaplains. They will assist those Chaplains in their individual prison ministries. Their very presence will begin to change the culture of the prisons to which they are assigned.
- As the Seminary graduates more and more long-term inmates, the ratio of the morally rehabilitated men to those who need it, will increase. More and more graduates will be going back into the prison system to help disciple and mentor other, shorter-term inmates. The Bible College graduates will facilitate church services, counsel and encourage other inmates, and show the shorter-term inmates what morality looks like.
FOX NEWS TELLS A BIT OF THE STORY.
View the Fox 26 Special News Story of the Darrington Seminary, the historic fully-accredited (SACS) Seminary sponsored by The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and funded by The Heart of Texas Foundation donors.
Texas Prison 4-Year Seminary ~ The Reason Why: “A Proven New Hope”.
Why have we worked so hard to bring an historic 4-year Seminary into the Texas prison system? Stop for a minute and see this amazing 26-minute documentary, recently released by the North American Home Mission Board— it’s the story of the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s historic Seminary Bible College, how it got started some 17 years ago, and how it has helped transform the most infamous of America’s prisons.
More About the Angola Seminary “Model”
Here’s a quick way to see why, after our 4-day visit with Burl Cain and his inmates back in February of 2010, we at the Foundation came back to Texas with an exciting vision in our hearts to build a 4-year Bible Seminary in a maximum-security Texas Prison.
Watch the the video below, and let Franklin Graham, Angola Chaplain Rentz, and the Inmates themselves tell you why the Prison’s 4-year Bible College has changed their culture, and their lives, forever. This will give you a glimpse of why top executives from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Senators John Whitmire and Dan Patrick, Senior Warden Burl Cain, the State of Louisiana, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, churches, and individual volunteers, led by the Heart of Texas Foundation– have all worked together to bring this “Texas prison miracle of 2011” into being. And now, private funding from the precious Texas citizens is what is needed to grow, and expand, the Seminary. It is and will be a positive catalyst for change from the inside out.
We are now doing it! Seventeen years of testimony at Angola proves that moral rehabilitation works. As we have seen happen in Louisiana prisons, our Seminary will help save Texas lives, reduce victims, reduce violence, save money, and save children of incarcerated parents from following in their parents’ footsteps. As the Angola Seminary has done, we will do. Our Seminary will help save Texas families from being victimized.
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