First St. Dismas Retreat Held at Lynaugh Prison in Fort Stockton

Josh Navarro
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON- Behind white buildings and barbwire fences, inmates at Lynaugh Prison in Fort Stockton got to experience something different this weekend.

"Pray and offer catholic mass with some 42 residents of this place who were completing a three day retreat called the dismas retreat, Saint Dismas," The most revered Michael D. Pfeifer, Bishop of the San Angelo Diocese, said.

Bishop Pfeifer says Saint Dismas was one of the thieves that asked for forgiveness to Jesus Christ at the Cross before dying.

Pfeifer says since Dismas was a thief and his life was turned around, they want to use that example in a program for inmates who want to do right. This type of retreat was a first at Lynaugh.

"People who are at a low point in their life and to make a true difference by changing their hearts and making them new people so that they can be forgiven and then when they are released be productive members of society," Pfeifer said.

Now even though NewsWest 9 cameras weren't allowed to go inside, we were able to talk some of the inmates in there and they said that this weekend's retreat was about restoring their faith in God and about forgiveness and not losing hope.

The prison warden says these retreats help rehabilitate inmates and hopes it makes a difference on the others.

"To be able to get along with each other more on a Christianly basis instead of having enemies with each other, they can look at each other as Christian brothers instead," Joe Grimes, Senior Warden of Lynaugh Prison, said.

One inmate said restoring his faith in God is everything to him no matter how long the sentence may be.