When God Is The Warden

The nation's first faith-based prison mixes religion and rehab--and stirs up controversy

Rayfield Newton was in the fast lane of recidivism. In June 2001 he left a Florida state prison after serving a year and a half for crack-cocaine possession. But by last summer he was back, sentenced to more than three years for selling the stuff and assaulting a police officer. Then late last year, sitting in his cell at a penitentiary in Florida's Panhandle, Newton heard that the Lawtey Correctional Institution, south of Jacksonville, had just been converted into the nation's first "faith based" prison. Fearing that his crimes were alienating his 12-year-old daughter, Newton decided to try Lawtey's mix of...

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