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Prison worship center moves closer to fruition

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As Joseph’s Hammer’s team of architects and engineers work with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to put the final touches on plans for the 8250 sq. ft. facility, the vision will soon become a reality. Having met their initial fundraising goal of $1,100,000 for the Worship Center, Directors expect the final cost will be much higher due to rising cost of materials. They look forward to the day when TDCJ issues the Notice to Proceed, and the final bids will be completed to carry out this God-sized project.
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Joseph's Hammer closer to groundbreaking on prison worship center

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By now you may have heard of a little-known resource in our community, the Ellen Halbert Women’s Prison. The Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Center in Burnet provides women with a six-month drug and alcohol treatment program.

The State of Texas built the prison in the 90’s but ran out of funds before a Chapel was built. For over 25 years, volunteers have been gathering in cramped classrooms to worship, offer Bible Studies and lead faith-based classes for these women.
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Joseph’s Hammer nearing goal for worship center at prison

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Plans are moving forward to build a Worship Center at the Ellen Halbert women’s prison in Burnet. Board directors, Paige Lechler, Davey Haberer, Pam Stevenson and Helen Smith meet with Chaplain Mark Cartright (left to right) to celebrate another milestone.

Joseph’s Hammer, the non-profit formed in 2018, is nearing their goal to break ground on the new worship center at the Ellen Halbert women’s prison in Burnet. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity that we have already experienced,” said director Paige Lechler. “Of the $1,100,000 proposed for the project, $200,000 is still needed.
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  • Did you know there’s a women’s prison in the Highland Lakes Area? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has approximately 1100 different women passing through the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) in Burnet for recovery programs every year. 
  • Three fourths of these women are serving their first prison sentence, and the others are coming out of longer sentences. They all get the 6-8 month drug/alcohol treatment they so desperately need before they go home to their communities and families across Texas. Many are victims of physical or sexual abuse. They are frightened, hungry for truth, and desperate to turn their lives around.
  • There’s no dedicated place for women to worship or attend faith-building classes at Ellen Halbert … yet.  We know (the evidence is irrefutable) that participation in faith-based studies and programs is the critical factor in determining the future success of these women. Now because of limited space, some women are being turned away and cannot participate in the very thing that can help them the most to be good parents, good neighbors and good citizens.



Building a place for transformation