Evangelist Rick Warren, famous for his bestselling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” has adapted his roadmap to salvation for California convicts. Recently, some 200 prisoners were the first to complete Warren’s 40-day Christian worship program. Completion comes with a bonus.
Warren’s programs, which have made him perhaps the most influential evangelical minister in America, have acquired a unique status within the California Department of Corrections, the nation’s largest. Prisoners who finish the drug program can qualify for an early furlough to a halfway house. Such furloughs have long been available through secular addiction programs, but the prison program – which combines 12-step methods with Christian teachings – is the first religious program accredited in this way, said a corrections spokesman. Though the program has elicited no protest, some civil libertarians say it amounts to government sponsorship of a religion.