RIDGEVILLE, SC (WCSC) – It has been nearly five years in the making, and now the doors to a new chapel at Lieber Correctional Center are open.
Monday night members of churches, government, volunteers, and inmates gathered at the prison to dedicate the new addition to the maximum-security facility.
"To give them a place to truly go and practice their religious beliefs is going to be tremendous," said Warden McKither Bodison, as he referred to the impact the chapel will have on inmates.
The roughly $400,000 building was funded through the government and donations from churches.
Prison officials said churches from as far away as California made contributions.
"I just think that the opportunity to participate in a religious program...it just gives folks another sense of being...a purpose and as in a situation of doing time, it just serves as a motivation," said Bodison.
Mostly inmate labor was used to build the 6000 square foot chapel.
For six years religious services took place inside the prison's gym, which was built when Lieber Correctional Center opened in 1986.
"The advantages are we'll have a place that's ours," said prison chaplain Durward Van Bebber. "We won't have to beg, borrow or steal other space in the facility."
Inmates on death row will not be permitted to use the chapel because of security concerns.