‘A Noble Journey,’ prison opens for doors for walk to City of Bethlehem

Local News

NOBLE CO., Ohio – Wednesday night visitors of the Noble Correctional Institution took part in a unique Christmas experience.

The prison put on a show titled, ‘A Noble Journey,’ and visitors were given a scroll and asked to walk to City of Bethlehem with a guide.

Warden of the facility, Tim Buchanan says he believes this is the first time a prison has put on a show like this. We have — an outdoor and indoor nativity being conducted by staff and offenders and community members.

He says it’s a surreal experience to see employees at the prison, volunteers and inmates work together.

“We’re at a point of the holiday season and it really gives everybody — I want to say a sense of normalcy but it’s really not even normal because it’s actually extraordinary to see so many people — in every walk of life working together.”

There was singing, music, live animals and a nativity scene to enjoy. One visitor spoke with the WHIZ News Team about the experience.

“I just wanted to come and — ya know — see what good works they were doing here tonight and it’s been awesome. I really enjoyed it and they did a wonderful job.”

Buchanan says this is one of the many ways the medium-security prison works with the inmates to get them ready for release.

“We believe it’s our responsibility. It’s our job to build the offenders up, it’s our job to make sure they’re ready to go. It’s also our job to get the community connected with the offenders so that — that way they’re more inclined to engage them upon release. It’s one of those things that the offender has to prepare themselves to go home, the community has to be open to receive them.”

Here are some statements from inmates that took part in the experience.

It feels great to be a part of something historic like this. It’s great to be a part of something to help remind people why we really celebrate Christmas.

This event makes me excited for the Christmas season and it’s an honor to be a part of it.

Coming to prison, I thought you had to act or be tough and tough guys don’t participate in plays or Christmas productions. So I didn’t see myself doing anything like this. I’m glad I did!

It’s great to come together for the Lord!

I feel blessed being a part of this play.

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