Oklahoma Prison to Be Run By Christians, For Christians

Reading through this article about a proposed Christian prison in Oklahoma, I kept thinking to myself that there has got to be some Religious Right involvement in this … and lo and behold there is, as Pat Robertson’s ACLJ has already agreed to defend it against any constitutional challenges:

A 150-acre site on the edge Wakita has been selected, and an agreement has been reached with Corrections Concepts Inc. to manage the 600-bed prison if and when it is built … [Bill] Robinson said the $42 million project would be financed with bonds.

A bond underwriting company said that if a government jurisdiction will commit to sending 310 inmates at a cost of $42.80 a day, bond sales can begin, and the project can proceed.

Robinson, himself an ex-con and prison minister, said he had been working for years on the idea of an all-Christian prison, and he had invested $1.3 million so far on construction plans and other expenses.

He said a lot of prisons have faith-based or Christian units, but he knows of none with an all-Christian staff.

“The staff, being all born-again believers, will see this as a mission,” he said.

“I want people to understand what it’s about. It’s about changing criminals into citizens.”

The prison would accept only men near the end of their sentences who volunteer to come into the prison and sign an agreement to participate.

They would work full time at private industries that operate inside the prison, get job training, and earn money.

The money would go to support their families, pay restitution to their victims, contribute to their own room and board, and produce a nest egg they can take when they leave prison.

Classes in literacy, General Educational Development requirements and life skills would be offered, and Wayland University, a Christian college in Plainview, Texas, has agreed to put a satellite campus in the prison.

“They don’t have to go to church, or Bible study, but they have to participate in the curriculum, which is Christ-centered,” Robinson said.

He possesses legal opinions that say that as a religious organization, the prison will be able to hire only people of like faith, he said.

If constitutional challenges arise, he said, the American Center for Law and Justice, a major Christian law firm, has agreed to represent the ministry for free.