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An unusual graduation ceremony

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(Angola, La., (KNOE 8 News) - Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary and Dr. Charles Kelly, president, of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), announce the graduation of 52 inmate students at its Angola extension Center on Monday, May 23, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. the 52 Associate Degrees and 52 Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Christian Ministries will be awarded during commencement exercises at the Tudy Chapel, located within the maximum-security gates of Louisiana State Penitentiary.

The NOBTS began classes on September 11, 1995, at Louisiana State Penitentiary. The Program developed from a vision of Warden Cain, who saw a need to instill hope and peace among the inmate population. Warden Cain shared this vision with Dr. T.W. Terrel, director of missions for the Judson Baptist Association in Baton Rouge, who in turn contacted Dr. Landrum Leavell, president of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Through the efforts of these three Christian administrators, an extension center for the NOBTS was established at Angola.

Since inception, the NOBTS college-degree program has been hugely successful in promoting high moral values among the Offender population. The evidence is clear in that the incidents of violence at Angola have dropped drastically, a direct relation to the moral rehabilitation of the prison. The program has been so successful here that the States of Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas now have Seminary's behind prison fences. Illinois, Florida and Alabama have visited Angola with the hope of establishing similar programs.

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