Inmates say their lives changed after Christian retreat

PENDLETON — Darryl Miller, an inmate at Industrial Correctional Facility in Pendleton who was sentenced to life in prison nearly 50 years ago, will not have to deal with the institution much longer as he was recently granted parole.

This he credits to his faith in God. Miller said he would appear before the board every five years and each time was denied.

“When you grow stronger in Christ, you can deal with anything in the institution,” he said after Sunday’s closing ceremony of a weekend retreat organized by the prison ministry, Kairos.

“I asked for God’s will to be done,” he said.

Miller, 69, who was convicted of murder in Porter County in 1974, will be released once prison officials secure a place for him to reside. He is excited to experience life on the outside once again.

Miller took some horticulture classes from Oakland City University.

He wants to apply those skills via a career in landscaping or something similar.

While incarcerated, Miller has found ways to serve via Kairos. Sunday afternoon he and others supported those participating in the retreat.

The “angels” as they were called, assisted with everything from taking down tables and chairs to being a smiling face.

“You get a sense of joy and pleasure watching these guys (participants) come to Christ,” he said.

Outside the retreat, Miller and other inmates participate in regular prayer-and-share groups. These groups allow them to continue the spiritual growth that began during the retreat.

“Unconditional love” was named by several inmates as a highlight of their retreat experience, including Kaeron Ray, who said the love he experienced was something unique.

“My family, we’re close but this was close close,” he said. “I was able to open up and say things I haven’t said out loud before.”

Kairos has programs both in and outside prison. After his release on Aug. 11, Ray hopes to introduce his brothers who are not in prison to the Kairos Outside program.

“I come from a community where people aren’t open,” he said. “I don’t come from a very trusting household or community.”

The West Indianapolis native hopes to foster that same love and trust at home.