New Missouri program will teach inmates to become ministers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Corrections is partnering with a university to launch college-level classes designed to train murderers, rapists and other long-term inmates to be ministers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Corrections Director Anne Precythe is pushing for the program with Hannibal-LaGrange University to begin in December at the maximum-security Jefferson City Correctional Center. For now, the program will be available only at male facilities, but the agency is considering expansion to women’s prisons.

Corrections department spokeswoman Karen Pojmann says the university is funding the program through fundraising.

A majority of participants will likely be inmates who are active in social situations in the prison, have a low rate of conduct violations and are serving long sentences. The program offers a bachelor’s degree that focuses on counseling and theology.

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