Inmates receive bachelors degrees in Biblical studies

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A second chance to do a good thing doesn't come to everybody so Jackie Welch and Zachary Smith are going to take advantage of this one.

"I chose the streets for the longest," said Jackie Welch, an inmate and a senior at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"God put it on my heart to choose this program."

They're members of the senior class of a different kind of seminary -- getting their bachelor’s degrees in biblical studies behind bars from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at the Darrington Unit prison.

"It has been an awesome experience just to be able to learn more about God's word and be around people that are like-minded in ministry," said Zachary Smith, also a senior in the program.

He dropped out of high school as a junior but will now be able to earn his bachelors in May.

The program is funded through grants and donations. The seminary trains inmates who are serving lengthy sentences to minister to their fellow offenders. After graduating from the program, the inmates will go to other Texas prison facilities where they will work with unit chaplains.