(PRWEB) September 19, 2013
Prison experts and state corrections officials consider it one of the most effective faith-based programs for impacting inmates with positive content that can help steer them in a positive direction. Since its launch in 2007 it has been installed in over 750 corrections facilities nationwide, with a potential impact of nearly one million inmates.
It's TBN Second Chance, an outreach of Christian television giant Trinity Broadcasting Network, that provides 24-hour encouraging, life-changing programing to prison facilities in California, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri — over 30 states at last count.
TBN covers the cost of equipment and installation, providing inmates with up to four of its popular faith networks: TBN’s flagship channel, America’s most-watched faith network; JCTV network for teens and young adults; the Church Channel, featuring the best worship services and ministry programs from across the nation; and Enlace, TBN’s exclusive Spanish-language Christian network.
“With shrinking budgets and the exponential growth of prison populations, many states are finding it difficult to find the resources needed to provide crucial rehabilitation for those behind bars,” said Mark Reynolds, national director for TBN Second Chance. “The letters and endorsements we’ve received from correctional officials and prison chaplains tell us that TBN’s prison initiative is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of men and women looking for that second chance in life.”
Louisiana's once notorious Angola State Penitentiary — the nation's largest maximum security facility — was the first prison to embrace TBN Second Chance, and its famed warden Burl Cain considers the program crucial to the faith-based approach he has used in turning Angola into a model prison. “Through TBN Second Chance we have the vehicle to communicate a message of hope to those in prison,” he said.
The success at Angola led to the installation of TBN Second Chance across the rest of Louisiana's prisons. Whalen Gibbs, Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, said that the 24-hour inspirational programming available through TBN Second Chance “has provided an avenue of hope for offenders who have not been involved in faith-based programs.”
California has also embraced Second Chance as a valuable resource, with a majority of the state's 33 adult facilities now offering TBN's channels to their prison population. Among the California facilities carrying TBN Second Chance are two of its most notorious — Folsom Prison with more than 3,000 inmates, and San Quentin, where over 5,000 inmates in California's oldest correctional facility have access to TBN's channels.
Chaplain Lois Woodard from the California Institution for Women in Corona said that TBN programming provides a positive influence to inmates that helps them overcome destructive attitudes and behaviors. “It is a tool in taking them to the next level emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, and ultimately preparing them for a successful re-entry into society,” she explained.
TBN Second Chance is also making inroads into state juvenile facilities. In 2009 Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice accepted TBN's offer to install its JCTV youth network in every Florida juvenile facility, potentially impacting more than 50,000 teens. Jim Uliasz, superintendent of the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Center in Clearwater, Florida, noted that within days of his facility adding JCTV he saw viewership among his juvenile detainees increase dramatically. “If I had a chance to talk to other superintendents or decision-makers about receiving JCTV, I would absolutely ask them to embrace it,” he said.
Richard Moran, a noted criminologist and sociology professor at Holyoke College in Massachusetts, explained that numerous academic studies have confirmed the close relationship between viewing TV violence and aggressive behavior. By contrast, inspirational programming has a positive effect. “Offenders need a fundamental shift in how they perceive the world, transitioning from a vengeful mindset to one of grace, forgiveness, and self control,” he said.
Chaplains and corrections officers confirm that the programming inmates are exposed to through TBN Second Chance provides an important catalyst for such a change. “The generous support of TBN in offering its programming via satellite is a statement to every inmate that there are thousands of good people outside of prison who care about the inmates,” said Alex Taylor, Chaplaincy Services Administrator for the Florida Department of Corrections.
TBN founder and President Paul Crouch said that TBN Second Chance is right at the heart of the mission the network has pursued for the past forty years. “Broadcasting life-changing programming to every corner of the earth — and into the most desperate of situations — has been TBN's mission from day one,” he said. “And we never cease to be thankful for the success we've witnessed through all of our many global networks, as well as through programs like TBN Second Chance.”
To learn more about TBN's efforts to reach out to inmates throughout the U.S., visit the TBN Second Chance website at tbnsecondchance.org.