Gospel from a prison, not a pulpit

Gospel from a prison, not a pulpit
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Gospel from a prison, not a pulpit. Faith-based units in the Yakima County Jail are more popular than ever. Sixty people live in the so-called "God Pod." They credit the program for changing their lives.

The criminals may look the same. The cells, just as foreboding. But, in two Yakima County jail cells, there's also music and The Bible is the focus.

There are wise words from a chaplain instead of strict orders from a guard. It's possible there's more prayer here than in a church.

Chris Olson plans to leave the green prison garb behind, and re-join society. He says, the so-called "God Pod" has prepared him for the change.

"There's a sense of love and compassion in this pod," said Olson.

Over in the girl's pod there's no less compassion.

"I'm going to take the plea deal for 2 years," said inmate Stephanie Vinson. "So I'm going to prison for two years."

Vinson is here on federal charges. She's committed to spend those years turning her life around.

"Much of the time they are at the end of the road and they know they need to do something," said the girl's Chaplain. "They don't know what it is, but they know they need to do something."

Roderick Williams was one of those people. But he, like others, said lessons learned behind these scripture-lined walls will stay with them on the outside.

The faith-based units have been around for 15 years. It started with less than a dozen inmates. Guards credit the growth to better behavior from the inmates who get involved. Administrators have the final say on the convicts who get to join the "God Pod."