JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - A new chapel is being built at the state prison at Parchman.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and other officials broke ground Tuesday at Unit 30 where construction is beginning.
Chapel groundbreaking at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman on Jan. 26, 2021. | Source: MDOC
Inmates will help build a nondenominational 6,400 square foot sanctuary.
The building will hold 250 people, will feature stained glass windows, and include a 20-foot tower with a 30-inch iron bell.
“The greatest thing in the world for the inmates will be right here,” David McNair, president of the Mississippi Prison Chapel Foundation, said. “It will be a beacon of faith that they can see when they go to bed and when they wake up. They will see a steeple that is a reminder of their relationship with God and a place where they can come and feel closer to God.”
The Mississippi Prison Chapel Foundation is providing funding.
McNair said inmates will still have the current church at Parchman, but the new chapel will be closer to where they live.
MDOC hopes the chapel will be completed to coincide with Easter morning on April 4.
This will be the first church to be built inside prison walls in the prison’s 120-year-old history, according to MDOC.
McNair said plans include building eight more chapels for the MDOC among its institutions that also include the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Greene County.