More than 800 Lake Erie Correctional Institution inmates shared a day of faith and new beginnings Aug. 17 when Champions for Life brought its prison ministry to the prison.
The organization was founded by former Cleveland Browns player Bill Glass in 1969.
Fifty-six ministry volunteers, along with LaECI chaplain Margaret Armstrong, engaged inmates with a message of rehabilitation through faith.
“Bill Glass and his ministry had a profoundly positive impact on our inmates,” Armstrong said in a statement. “For many of these men, developing a strong faith is the first step in rebuilding their lives and becoming productive members of society. (The event) was only one day in a long rehabilitative process. I encourage anyone interested in being part of our prison ministry to contact LaECI. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Dozens of inmates got the message, said Jeff Atin, Champions for Life area director.
“Over 100 inmates accepted Jesus for the first time and 166 additional inmates re-dedicated their lives for Christ, he said in a statement. “From here, we will encourage these men to pray, read the Bible daily and join in fellowship with other believers who are part of the program.”
LaECI Warden Brigham Sloan and his staff emphasize the importance of a faith-based approach to rehabilitation, according to the statement. Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates the prison, employs 64 full-time chaplains.
The Conneaut prison offers the Basic Life Principles program, which teaches basic values, anger management and conflict resolution. Inmates who complete the course are less likely to be a discipline problem in prison and return to jail after release, according to the statement.