The Associated Press profiles a Mississippi prison educational program that gives bachelor’s degrees in Christian ministry to felons at the state’s maximum security lockup in Parchman. The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, an accredited Southern Baptist school, began offering prison courses in 1996 to Louisiana inmates at Angola prison. In addition to Parchman, the seminary is working in Georgia and Florida prisons.
The AP said several religiously based schools offer educational programs in prison. Liberty University in Virginia, New York Theological Seminary and Mercy College are among them, according to Mark Early, president of Prison Fellowship, a national prison ministry. Columbia International University, a conservative Christian school, operates a degree program in South Carolina, graduating 15 inmates in December. At New York’s Sing Sing Prison, more than 100 convicts have completed the Mercy College program, Early said. Forty-five have been released and haven’t returned to prison.