AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Senate Criminal Justice Chair John Whitmire announced the first ever 2015 Darrington Prison Seminary Graduates from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“The prison seminary is the first in history, in Texas,” said Patrick. “Working with Sen. Whitmire, we established this program to begin changing the lives of inmates and the culture of our prisons.”
“It is remarkable to me that two state senators from Texas could travel to the Angola Prison in Louisiana and return with a concept of creating a prison seminary in Texas,” stated Chairman John Whitmire. “The 33 inmates graduating on Saturday will soon have the opportunity to literally change people’s lives in prisons across this state. I am honored to have partnered with Lt. Governor Patrick on this effort and look forward to continuing to support such a meaningful program.”
The graduates, who will continue serving time in prison, will receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biblical Studies. As many as 40 offenders entered the program in 2011 and 33 are graduating on May 9, 2015, with a class Grade Point Average (GPA of 3.7.)
The 2015 seminary graduates will be the first to provide a variety of prison community services, which include worship services, bible studies, grief counseling and hospice ministry.
“I am very proud of this unique graduating class,” concluded Patrick. “This inaugural ceremony is not only about faith; it’s about the opportunity for a second chance to turn mistakes into lessons. It demonstrates that there is still hope, in all Texans, to turn their life around for a greater good.”