First graduates of the Faith and Character Based Dormitory program receive diplomas - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First graduates of the Faith and Character Based Dormitory program receive diplomas

July 28, 2005

Albany- One by one they marched in. Men who although were sentenced to prison for various crimes, have decided to change their lives through faith and character building. These are the men chosen to live in the first ever Faith and Character Based dormitory program at Calhoun prison.

Inmate and speaker, Robert Hughes says,"Theres no excuses for failure in this program, this is our second chance shouldn't be anymore second chances." Faith Based coordinator Toriarn Weldon explains the importance of this graduation, "This graduation right here, the ones who graduated today, those are the charter members, they came into this program 15 guys wanted to make a change in their lives and tired of the same old environment.

So we asked them, just how well does the faith based program work. You have men working together, learning together even praying together all within these prison walls. Prisoner and participant Jamal Smith says,"a lot of changes, a lot of guys are getting more serious about the situation of the dorm and just that program itself in general you didn't see that serious before but you see a lot more now."

Take Terry Bruner for example, After serving his time and being released from prison, he still came back to get his certificate. Bruner says, "I wanted to share with these men what God is about and be a testimony to them that he is real and he's working in our lives if they hold onto their faith that faith build character."

The prisoners feel that no matter what happens here or on the outside, their beliefs will help them truly to be free. The program has a zero tolerance policy, the prisoners are selected to be in the program based on their willingness to work and follow rules. Most importantly they have to want to change.

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