Gov. Perry Visits Darrington Unit Seminary
Gov. Rick Perry, along with Sens. Dan Patrick and John Whitmire, visited the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Darrington Unit in Rosharon, which is home to the first prison seminary in the state of Texas. The program was started by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to allow inmates housed in the maximum security unit to receive a bachelor's degree in Biblical studies. This four-year, 125-hour, non-denominational program is run collaboratively by TDCJ, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist of Texas Convention and the Heart of Texas Foundation, and is funded entirely by private donations and grants.
To qualify for the program students must have a GED or high school diploma, a good behavioral record for at least one year, 10 or more years remaining until they are eligible for parole, and a desire to serve. Forty students were accepted into the program in August, and 39 students were enrolled in the four-year program. In the future, the seminary hopes to add 40 new students to the program each year, with the potential to grow to 160 students over the next four years.