A privately-run prison that will only hire Christian staffers is getting a lot of support from Wakita, Oklahoma officials. It could be up and running in 16 months.
“The staff, being all born-again believers, will see this as a mission,” [founder of Corrections Concepts Inc. Bill Robinson] says. That, he says, is “about changing criminals into citizens.”
The prison would accept only inmates near the end of their sentences who volunteer to attend and sign an agreement to participate, the paper says.
“They don’t have to go to church, or Bible study, but they have to participate in the curriculum, which is Christ-centered,” Robinson says.
Despite the fact that this would be privately-run and accepting only prisoners who volunteer to be there, I am concerned there will be church-state violations rampant. One commenter here writes: “A ‘Christian’ private prison funded with $42 million in public bond money, would still have to be reimbursed that $42.80 a day by the state.” I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I’d be surprised if a prison could be run with no government intervention at all.
This is a case just begging for the ACLU to keep a careful eye on…
I’d like to know what the facility would look like. Would it be so much better than government-run prisons that some prisoners will want to go to the Christian one because it provides better amenities? Will there be any coercion to go there?
I’d also like to know the recidivism rate for criminals who become Christian while in prison and are later released. Are they really better off afterwards?
Maybe this is one issue atheists don’t have to worry about. We make up only a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the prison population to begin with, according to 1997 data.
(Thanks to Charlie for the link!)