Phillips State Prison: Inmate Education Program

By Christopher Zoukis

Phillips State Prison has fostered various academic programs that lead to a general education diploma.  Historically, this prison’s programs have included remedial literacy, special education, and basic adult education.  It has recently moved beyond the high school education arena, however, to provide college level courses.  Located in Buford, Georgia, Phillips State Prison is the site of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) Leavell College Extension Center that is geared to “prepare students for current ministry within the Georgia State prison system by providing offenders in prison and beyond incarceration opportunities to obtain AA and BA degrees in Christian Ministry,” according to a document posted by the Georgia Department of Corrections (dcor.state.ga.us/pdf/NOBTS.pdf).  Image courtesy facebook.com

The Program

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, “The Extension Center will offer thirty inmates from the state of Georgia a two-year, seventy-six semester hour Associate degree in Christian Ministry and a four-year, 126-semester hour Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry.” The degrees are accredited and the coursework has been designed for inmates who want to engage study for the ministry.  Sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Convention, the program at the Leavell College Extension Center is modeled after the NOBTS programs at Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary. 

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Prison Fellowship-Transforming Lives, Reconciling Families

Imagine that because a former Watergate “crook” was sentenced to prison in 1976, today stands the powerful Christian faith-based organization known as the Prison Fellowship.

When special counsel to the Nixon administration, Chuck Colson entered a plea of guilty to Watergate related charges-obstruction of justice in the Daniel Ellsberg case, he faced one-to-three years in a federal prison. Colson only served seven months of that term, but walked away a changed man who also founded the Prison Fellowship to help incarcerated prisoners find and keep the faith of Christianity.

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