Christ Behind the Walls - a Mission work of Brent Presbyterian Church and Warrior Presbytery
Hispanic Worship Service in the prison that meets each Monday morning
Birmingham Theological Seminary Prison Initiative Program
The Prison Initiative Program is an intensive, two-year ministry training program offered by Birmingham Theological Seminary (BTS) to inmates in the Alabama corrections system. Every other year, 15 inmates are interviewed and selected from various state prisons and transferred to take seminary classes at the Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama.
The focus of the BTS Prison Initiative is on training the inmate to effectively and faithfully serve the Lord while incarcerated. For that reason, only inmates with at least seven years left on their sentence are eligible for the program. And inmates have to agree to serve wherever they are sent after graduation, even if they are assigned to a higher security correctional facility than their inmate “classification” dictates.
The BTS Prison Initiative is closely modeled after a program offered by Columbia International University in the South Carolina corrections system. The CIU program started in 2008 and their graduates have collectively made a tremendous impact on the culture of the South Carolina prison system. In fact, two CIU program graduates agreed to transfer into the Alabama system to assist BTS in launching this program and to serve as mentors and teaching assistants here.
The BTS Prison Initiative was launched in September 2016. A cohort of 15 inmates is taking classes four days each week in a curriculum that includes Bible, theology, counseling, discipleship and practical ministry courses. BTS, in collaboration with other ministries, will also offer workshops and seminars to these students in such areas as hospice care, conflict resolution, relational wisdom and life skills.
This program is entirely privately funded and is provided to the inmates for free.