Monday, August 23, 2004

Prison program aims to help inmates develop faith, skills to make it in outside world

At a moment's notice, convicted murderer Wanda Joyce Deriso can recite the Bible definition of faith: "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Not an unusual skill in prison, where "jailhouse religion" is proverbial.

But Georgia prison officials are hoping that Deriso and the other women in the E-6 building at Pulaski State Prison will write the definition of faith with their lives.

Deriso and her fellow inmates live in a "faith-based dormitory," one of the newest initiatives of Georgia's new prison chief.

Inspired by President Bush's call for more faith-based involvement in the work of government, the dormitory is supposed to allow prisoners to work on their own faith and character while developing skills to help them turn their lives around and make it in the outside world.


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