See How Religious Volunteers Have an Impact on the Lives of Men at the Marshall County Facility
Freddie Burrell is a resident of the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, MS.
“There’s a lot of guys that are crying out with drug addiction,” says Freddie, “and maybe family problems, and maybe having guilt over their crimes and everything, but the ladies and the religion programs involved is really helping these guys find themselves and molding and shaping them in the spiritual sense.”
Any correctional facility or detention center is deeply grateful to volunteers who strive to reach out and make a difference in the lives of residents. At Marshall County, the full-time chaplain, Mike Hensley, is particularly grateful for the wide variety of faith-based volunteers he works with.
“We try to adapt to whatever need there is, for any type of service that we can, that’s authorized by the state of Mississippi for religious programming. So, we just keep on doing what we’re doing, and it keeps expanding and getting better and bigger.”
Faith-based volunteers help facilitate all types of worship.
Jo Ann Hancock is a volunteer chaplain.
“It’s a good, good thing to have religious services in prison,” she says, “and we’re blessed with a great set of classes and a chaplain that’s on board and a warden that supports us in every way. We care about these men. And we want to encourage them, and we want them to have changed lives.”
“It shows you the heart,” says Warden Jesse Williams. “It shows you these individuals, their passion, their call on their life to come in and touch folks within this environment. Everyone can’t do it. So, when you have a group of people who are that compassionate about helping these men any way they can, it shows a lot.”
“Sometimes words,” says Freddie, “can’t even explain how my life has been so touched by being in these classes, and it’s just been awesome.”
Chance Smith is also a resident participant of the facility’s religious program.
“It’s not just changed my life,” he explains, “but I’ve seen many people’s lives changed around this whole prison.”
“I feel so appreciative,” Freddie adds. “I feel so blessed and so privileged to have these young ladies and men to be in my life.”
The COVID-19 Pandemic created great challenge as the volunteers were not able to enter the facility for a good while. Yet, they continued serving the men in any way they could.
Warden Williams expresses his gratitude to the volunteers.
“We would not be as successful providing therapeutic, rehabilitative opportunities to these offenders that we are, without our volunteers and their presence. These folks are here; rain, snow, sleet, they are here.”
“Everyone who works here,” expresses Volunteer Chaplain Hancock, “treats me like I’m a part of this place, and I’m just so grateful to be here.”