56 inmates baptized at Bartholomew County jail

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. -- More than four dozen inmates were baptized at the Bartholomew County Jail over the weekend. 

"I am unable to wrap my head around the forgiveness, strength, new life, hope and freedom that came over the residents as they were washed and clean from their sin," said Sheriff Matt Myers. 

The baptisms are part of a program called "Residents Encounter Christ" and it's a program that will continue to be there for them after they are released from jail and get back out into society. 

"To help plug them into recovery programs, to employment agencies, to help find transportation and a place to live if they don't have one," said Karl Evans with Residents Encounter Christ. "That's really the biggest challenge for us, to help them have that transformed life."

Sheriff Myers called the baptisms his "biggest accomplishment" in his 26 years in law enforcement. 

"We are not pressuring anybody, this is not something that they have to do but if they want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ I'm going to make sure they have that relationship," said Sheriff Myers. 

Esmeralda Ibarra, 38, was one of those inmates. Ibarra is serving a sentence for possession of cocaine and methamphetamine and says she wants to change her life around. 

"I've been in and out of this jail for 10 years," said Ibarra. "This is the first time I feel this way, I don't feel like I'm lost. I feel like when I get out, I'm going to walk out to something different."

The group has also performed baptisms at the Jefferson and Jennings county jails and they are planning one in Brown County next. 

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