Inmates at the St. Clair Correctional Facility have recorded a 15-track CD of gospel music to help raise funds for a new Chapel at the prison.
Each of the songs (tune and lyric) is original. The songs were written by the inmates and most are copyrighted. They were recorded at the prison during the spring of 2009.
The participants were selected by the Chaplain and Warden of the prison based on their example of being followers of Jesus Christ while incarcerated. All the inmates involved in the project have life sentences with one exception.
Rev. Jeff Lyles, a United Methodist minister, is chaplain at St. Clair. He is also pastor of Clear Springs United Methodist Church.
As Chaplin, Rev. Lyles has had to juggle scheduled Chapel services, classes, and numerous other Christian activities due to the limited space in the small prison Chapel. The institution holds more than 1500 inmates and the Chapel is currently inadequate to maintain the religious services and classes at the prison.
Due to the recession and rising costs, the State Of Alabama does not have enough money to properly house inmates who are incarcerated in prisons all over the state, much less build a new Chapel at a prison.
However, Chaplain Lyles knows it is imperative that St. Clair Correctional Facility construct a new Chapel that will meet the spiritual needs of the inmates in the facility -- one that will be able to handle every service, contain classrooms, have a study area with a library, music room, etc.
Since there are several Christian inmates at St. Clair who are musically inclined and who write their own songs, the idea arose to allow the inmates to make a recording of their songs and the proceeds go into a non-profit fund that would provide the finances to build the new Chapel.
Chaplain Lyles met with Rick Hudson and several members from Hunter Street Baptist Church about helping this project along.
Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections Richard Allen and Warden at St. Clair Correctional Facility David Wise approved a project for the inmates to record their songs and donate all money collected to the Chapel fund.
Kevin Derryberry, Joel Bouchillon, Bill White, along with Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover all worked together to finance, record, promote and distribute the recording of the music.
This CD project is titled, Another Captive Free. It is available for download (including CD jacket and CD label) from the website anothercaptivefree.com.
A donation of $12 (or more) is being asked in order to help build the new Chapel at St. Clair. All profits will go into a non-profit fund that will be used to build the new Chapel.
Please send all donations to:
St. Clair Correctional Facility Chapel Ministry
Springville, AL 35146
To Rev. Lyles, a new Chapel is not only a way to increase ministry with the inmates of the prison, but also his way of leaving something better than he found it.
Lyles has been associated with the prison since the 1980s, but not always as the Chaplain. He began working with the Alabama Department of Corrections as a Correctional Officer at the St. Clair prison in January of 1983, where he later rose to the rank of Sergeant.
On April 15, 1985, there was a riot at the prison in which Officer Lyles received serious injuries from the inmates. Lyles had become a Christian at an early age but he had strayed from his faith at the time. However, during his recovery from his injuries, the Lord began to deal with him about his relationship with Christ and about the calling that God had placed on his life.
After returning to his corrections job at the prison he later answered God’s call to go into ministry in April 1994. He continued to work at the prison as he also served as pastor of a United Methodist Church. In 1997 he left the Alabama Department of Corrections to pastor full-time. Then three years later, in November 2000, he answered another call and became the Chaplain at St. Clair Correctional Facility.
Over the years, Lyles has come to understand that true “corrections” could only come through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and if the inmates were going to be rehabilitated, and recidivism reduced, they first had to be born again.
Visit anothercaptivefree.com to listen to and download the CD.