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Prison Inmates Lead Lutheran Congregation

Some inmates at the state prison are working to uphold a standard of integrity despite living decades behind bars. The South Dakota State Penitentiary houses people who have committed heinous crimes. It’s also a place where inmates of many faiths can choose to worship.

A Lutheran congregation called St. Dysmas has more than 100 churchgoers in the 700-person prison. They elect council members, and those inmate leaders talk about forming community when their own actions keep them from being part of regular society.

SDPB’s Kealey Bultena had this discussion with church council members behind the walls. In order, she talks with Pastor Bob Chell and prisoners T.J., Josh, Christopher, Dave, Donnie, Travis, and Justin.

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Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB