Changing the culture of our prisons and communities.
The first 23 men enrolled in our program will complete their freshman year this May and applications for enrollment for year two have gone out! The change we anticipated to see within our prisons as this program positively impacts the lives of inmates has begun and we excited to share some of the stories with you.
Stories of Transformation
Inmate #4452 once sat in his prison cell as the words “life in prison without parole,” echoed through his mind. The memory of the crime he committed and the day in the courtroom when he received his sentence would haunt him for days. Not anymore, not this day.
As an inmate within Waupun’s Maximum Security Prison, Inmate #4452, now respectfully called Mr. Wells, is a student in Operation Transformation, a four-year accredited program in conjunction with Trinity International University and made possible through the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association (WIEA). Each year up to 25 men will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical studies and be trained as “Field Mentors” equipped to serve future inmates as they counsel and mentor in their context as fellow prisoners. These student inmates are held to high standards and treated with the utmost respect – one inmate enrolled in the program wept the first time someone called him something other than his inmate number.
Because of how God is working through Operation Transformation Mr. Wells, has found a purpose for his life and a way to connect with his children on the outside. After just one week of attending class he was so excited about what he was learning that he reached out to his children back home and asked them to order the same textbooks he was using in class. He realizes what a difference it would have made in his own life if he had learned these foundations earlier and has made it his goal to teach them to his children. They are now working through the lessons together. Mr. Well’s is now involved in his children’s future on the outside, from inside the prison using just a few of the skills he learned as part of Operation Transformation. This would not have been possible before.
Mr. Well’s story illustrates the broad impact of Operation Transformation as fathers, brothers and sons experience a contagious life change. Where there was once only despair, regret, anger and depression now there is hope, purpose and the love of Christ in the lives of these men. This reaches both their fellow prisoners and their families and communities on the outside.
Maximum security facilities where programs like Operation Transformation are being conducted have the lowest violence rates of similar prison facilities nationwide. These programs are working miracles in places where miracles are desperately needed. Operation Transformation is bringing change inside the prison and change outside the prison in homes and communities without hope. God’s HOPE through the work of the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association (WIEA) and Trinity International University.
Thank you for partnering with us as we work on creating change in Wisconsin. The true story of Mr. Wells and his family is just one of many that illustrate the impact WIEA offers to our prisons and communities as we nurture from the inside out. It is a new day in Wisconsin.
*Inmate names have been changed to protect their privacy