Church brings its ministry to Autry State Prison

Church brings its ministry to Autry State Prison
Pastor Knighton
Pastor Knighton
Doug Simmons, Clinical Chaplin
Doug Simmons, Clinical Chaplin

PELHAM, GA (WALB) - More folks in South Georgia are reaching out to help inmates incarcerated at Autry State Prison. Pastor Lawrence Knighton with St. James Missionary Baptist Church makes regular trips out to do Bible study and bring supplies like soap and shampoo.

Knighton is no stranger to the facility.  "This is probably one of the best forms of ministry our church can do as far as making a difference in the lives of the people here."

He's worked with the facility to help give back to those who otherwise might not have any support from the outside.

"The Bible says in Matthew 25, that when I was sick you took care of me, when I was in prison you visited me. Those are the types of things we want to do as a community and as a church.

It may not seem like much, but Chaplin Doug Simmons says having a connection to the community helps improve inmates well-being.

"They are all involved in changing inmates lives, getting the right thinking going on, and helping them to understand that just because they made a mistake in the past that does not have to be a life defining event," said Doug Simmons Clinical Chaplin.

"I think it helps build morale. For one if you have activities and people who know that there are people outside who are concerned it sort of eliminates fights and discipline reports that people get."

Because Simmons says 98% of them come back into the community.

"They can get over that, they can get beyond that, they can get above that, and use that as a stepping stone to reenter society,"said  Doug Simmons, Clinical Chaplin.

And they end up do jobs like firefighting, which they can get trained to do, likes these inmates, while in prison.

"They are now lieutenants and captains at fire departments in Georgia because they're training is so superior," said Simmons.

Right now they have nearly 100 volunteers who visit the prison, but they could always use more.  If you'd like to help, call 229-294-6744.

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