On Tuesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well as state Senators Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and John Whitmire (D-Houston) made a surprise visit to the maximum-security Darrington Unit, to see the new seminary program which is training convicted felons to be ministers. This marked Perry’s first visit to a state prison as governor. Prisoners who successfully complete the program will receive a degree in biblical studies from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is operating and paying for the program. Once the prisoners complete the program, they will be transferred to other prisons to minister to other convicts as the ministers serve out the remainder of their sentences. The recently established program has already been credited with reducing violence in the unit and generally improving living conditions.

An article on the governor’s visit, titled “Perry Visits Prison Seminary Program near Houston,” was published in the Austin American-Statesman, and can be read here.