Prison Seminary Program

Prison Seminary Program

Degree Plan
Policy and Procedure Manual

Program at a glance:

The “seminary” program began with 25 students, virtually no resources, and a prayer in the Fall of 2015. Having already held some interest meetings with Lea County Correctional Facility (LCCF) administration and inmates in the summer of 2015, a partnership appeared to be forming between LCCF and University of the Southwest (USW). All that was needed was the (not so minor) issue of funding.

In the summer of 2015, USW was approached by some generous donors in Albuquerque who agreed to pay basic expenditures of the University for this program. What was needed now was our University board willing to waive some $1.5 million in tuition and counting. Our board embraced this opportunity to demonstrate Christ-like service. At very short notice, cohort 1 was assembled and classes began on September 3, 2015.

The initial program was designed to be completed in 2 years (42 hours). After the first cohort of 25 students completed the first year, another cohort of approximately 25 students began their program. Now, two cohorts are always active at the same time, with one finishing their second year and one their first. The ultimate goal of the program is to see moral rehabilitation occur within the New Mexico correction system through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Despite humble beginnings, this program has become a blessing and source of pride for all who have been involved. USW holds a commencement service each summer for those who have completed the program. A significant opportunity, however, is now allowing USW to improve and expand the program at LCCF.

Program moving forward:

In 2020, USW was one of 67 schools nationwide invited to participate in the Second Chance Pell experiment. As a participating school, funding is now available for USW to offer full, four-year degrees at LCCF. This new opportunity will move the program forward in a positive direction. At the outset of this transition, USW will offer two degree possibilities for students at LCCF: a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Community Leadership and Social Engagement and a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.

The Community Leadership and Social Engagement degree is an interdisciplinary program meant to prepare the graduate to effect positive community change through best practices in leadership, communication, ethics,and Christian studies. This degree builds on the original 2-year plan (click here to see a copy of the Community Leadership and Social Engagement degree plan). All students currently in the program are working toward completing this degree, as it is the first four-year option to be offered at LCCF.

The Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management will be available once the transition is complete. Emphases of this degree include courses in each business discipline. Courses include accounting, business law, finance, management, marketing, human resources,managing diversity, strategic planning, leadership, and effective organizational teams.

USW is working closely together with the administration and education teams at LCCF to create the best student learning environment for the students. The program will continue to consist of face-to-face learning as well as online learning. USW is excited to be partnering with LCCF in offering these degrees.   


For more information about the prison seminary program, please contact Dr. Kevin Waldrop, Prison Seminary Director, at or (575)-492-2172.