JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Researchers with Baylor University and Pepperdine University will conduct a two-year research project on Mississippi’s prisons.

The researchers are Dr. Byron Johnson with Baylor University and Jim Gash, a criminal justice researcher with Pepperdine University. They will be studying Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Burl Cain’s changes to Mississippi prisons.

The researchers will be meeting with inmates, correctional officers and Cain to observe how re-entry and seminary program are helping inmates improve their lives.

MDOC leaders said the project is a continuation of a past study of Cain’s legacy of improving prisons with tough histories. They said Cain’s seminary, re-entry and faith-based programs are credited with turning Louisiana’s Angola Prison from America’s bloodiest into a model of calm, order and education.

The researchers chose Mississippi as a follow-up to a previous five-year study on Cain in Louisiana.