In existence for 19 years, The Dismas / Magdalene Project, Inc., is a Christian lay organization that consists of 5000+ incarcerated Texas men and women who have committed to a changed life of good citizenship and holiness. The Dismas / Magdalene Project, Inc. founded by Deacon Robert R. Leicht, Jr., has conducted weekend retreats in 18 units of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The goal of the Project is to significantly reduce the recidivism rate of Catholic offenders. The results of our prison work have been recognized by TDCJ Chaplaincy Department as part of its Life Changes Academy.
The entire scope of the Project is summarized as a "1-2-3 punch," an outreach to our incarcerated men and women: to assist them to come back to the Church toward real-life Christian values, including re-entry assistance upon release.
1st, Volunteers initiate a high energy, 2-3 day Catholic Retreat in prison to gather Catholic offenders together. The candidates are invited to become Brothers of Saint Dismas or Sisters of Mary Magdalene and are inducted into the program.
2nd, Follow up fraternities & sororities are formed to encourage continued Church community and strengthen an individual’s Catholic faith. Mentorship and correspondence programs encourage them on their faith journey. During regularly scheduled meetings each Brother/Sister is encouraged to develop a written plan of action to guide them upon release.
3rd, Upon release, another branch of the Brothers of Saint Dismas called the Catholic Re-integration to Society Program (CRISP) assists with a duffle bag of necessary supplies to assist in the reintegration of the ex-offender into the society. This third arena of assistance also helps them join an outside local BSD/SMM Chapter to assist others upon release.
The newly opened Kolbe House offers a faith-based monastic style community for the brothers where the men continue to strengthen their faith.
The plan for the future is to open a Sisters of Mary Magdalene House that will be a faith-based community for the sisters where women can live and transition into the free world while continue to grow strong in their faith.
The whole process is already working; it is no longer only a hope-filled theory. Sixteen Fraternal Chapters and two Sorority Chapters exist now in TDCJ prisons. The over 4000 Brothers of St. Dismas and the 1000+ Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene work with their fellow offenders to maintain mutual Christian fellowship, liturgy, study and prayer of all kinds. The Chapters help nurture an inmate’s faith journey both inside prison and in the free world.
For more information email:
Deacon Dennis Hayes (president) firstname.lastname@example.org