Female Inmates Turning Over New Leaf

The inmates devoted nearly 700 hours to faith based activities and scripture readings that have made a profound impact on their lives.

Amanda Hale is serving time in prison for passing worthless checks and credit card fraud. Hale is one of more of than 20 female inmates who graduated Friday after participating in a six month faith based program.

Amanda says, "It's given me a different view of life. I don't want to live the way I've lived before. I don't want to indulge in the things I used to. It's given me a pattern for life. It's taught me to be marketable, to be productive, to teach my kids values so they don't end up in a place like this in the near future."

These women say they're making a lifelong commitment to use the Bible as a guide to better their lives.

Kim Levingston, an inmate and Life Principles participant, says, "I was an addict out there and I do have small children that I have left. I have tried to kill myself and Chaplin Hilton has been a very big part of my life, she's been through a lot with me."

Prison officials are hoping this new found faith will keep these women on the outside of this fence.

Chaplain Dorothy Hilton says, "I hope it's going to change lives and reduce recidivism for these girls who graduate. We'll be doing some follow-ups. What I tell them is when they leave we'll be renting your beds out, so don't come back."

These inmates say they've found spiritual guidance from the Bible and now have a renewed commitment to living a crime free life. This is the first faith based program for women in the state of Florida to have a graduating class.