Building a Culture of Safety and Forgiveness


Moral rehabilitation is what we’re after. Moral people don’t take your money, your car or your life. Moral rehabilitation is the direct result of spiritual transformation. “When a person’s heart changes, their behavior changes.”

Burl Cain, at one point the longest sitting warden in America, says “We can educate, train, and teach trades and skills, but without the moral component, without a change in their hearts, we are just making smarter criminals.”

Mt. Olive Bible College, funded by Catalyst Ministries, and sponsored by Appalachian Bible College, continues the state-wide effort to permanently improve the culture in the West Virginia Prison System. This new West Virginia Prison Bible College is unique to most prisons in America.  The men of the Bible College at Mt. Olive will change the West Virginia prison system from the inside out, and from the bottom up. That is what has happened at the Angola penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana because of their Seminary, its private funding, and their state officials allowing the effort. Their violence rate has dropped nearly 75% since their Bible College opened. What was once known as “America’s Bloodiest Prison” is now America’s safest prison.

What makes the approach so different from anything that has been done in Penal history in America?

The Angola Model, now proven to be a major element in penal reform, is basically this:

  • The Bible College is a Full-Time College.
  • The Bible College students are made up of mostly inmates with extremely long sentences.
  • The majority of those graduating from the Bible College won’t be getting out; they will stay inside the system, helping transform the system from the inside out. Inmates listen to their own; they give far greater credence to the voice of their own than they do to the voices of free-world volunteers. Inmates tend to look at an inmate minister as one of their own. They are more receptive to the Christian message because they look at the minister and know he is in here with them. This has proven to be more effective than if some stranger comes in from the outside and tries to minister to them.
  • The Bible College students, upon Graduation, will be sent to other West Virginia prisons in the state, where they will serve on the staffs of the prison Chaplains. They will assist those Chaplains in their individual prison ministries. Their very presence will begin to change the culture of the prisons to which they are assigned.

Seventeen years of testimony at Angola proves that moral rehabilitation works. As we have seen in Louisiana, our Bible College will help save West Virginia lives, reduce victims, reduce violence, save money, and save children of incarcerated parents from following in their parents’ footsteps. As the Angola Seminaries has done, we will do. Our Bible College will help save West Virginia families from being victimized.

Catalyst Ministries, along with the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Appalachian Bible College continues to work tirelessly toward bringing this West Virginia Prison miracle of 2014 to its fullest potential.  Now, private funding from our precious West Virginian citizens is what is needed, as the Bible College will be funded solely by private donations.

Join us– no monthly or annual contribution is too small. We truly need your support to help us meet our goals and the doors that have been opened to our ministry. Click here to Donate.

It is and will be a positive Catalyst for change from the inside out.