16 Blount Co. female inmates choose to be baptized as part of new program

Updated: Aug. 21, 2019 at 8:26 PM CDT
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BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s a powerful program going on at the Blount County jail.

Inmates - some who are facing drug charges, others theft, and even murder - now have the option to get baptized.

We sat down with Heather Heaton, who’s been in custody at the Blount County Jail for a year.

Her 3-year-old son Brenden and 79 year old Grady Leon Goodwin were killed two years ago in a wreck on Highway 79.

“He would just sit there and just smile at me,” Heaton remembered of her son. “There was nothing you could do to get my child not to smile.”

It’s a smile Heaton can now only see in pictures.

“I made the choice to get behind the wheel of a car and drive intoxicated, and I took two lives,” she said. “And that’s something heavy that weighs on me daily.”

The pain is still raw.

“I’m so sorry,” she cried. “I took your grandfather, your daddy from you.”

But after spending a year at the Blount County Jail, she’s realized there’s hope.

“I want to see a real change in our community,” said Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon.

Sheriff Moon says it’s his mission to give these inmates the hope they need to lead better lives - one baptism at a time.

“In all my years in law enforcement, all I see is a revolving door here,” he said. “Same people coming in and going out. It’s just a revolving door. And I’m tired of seeing that.”

So with the gospel preached by Redeemed Ministries, 16 female inmates chose to get baptized.

“Every one of them was crying, singing the praise songs. It wasn’t just a “jailhouse religion.” I felt like, for the most part, it was real to these ladies,” said Sheriff Moon.

So real to inmates like Heaton, who says she knows her son would be proud of who she’s become.

Sheriff Moon said they don’t pay Redeemed Ministries a dime to baptize these inmates, and it’s an option - not mandatory for them.

But he says he hopes by sharing the word of God with these inmates, he’s making a difference.

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