Guitar man helps inspire inmates to amend ways

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Inspiring inmates who otherwise might not have the best of days also might be one of the better ways to prevent repeat crimes and lower recidivism rates in Lycoming County.

Lynne Whelden, of Canton, is one of those unsung individuals who is helping that cause.

The musician and outdoorsman brings his guitar and his talent for playing it to Yokefellow Prison Ministry at the Lycoming County Prison.

For 90 minutes a week, Whelden performs and plays old-time hymns and gospel songs for the inmates.

“I find it rewarding to spend time with people, some who messed up and are trying to make amends while serving their sentence,” he said.

Whelden, who has been involved in the ministry for a decade, considers it the “high point” of his week to spend time with the inmates.

He said the prison does a good job offering inspirational time for those who sign up ahead of time and take part and it offers access to a chaplain who conducts Bible study and local pastors who hold church services, he said.

Whelden said exposing inmates to positive thoughts, teachings and morals will improve their chances of success once they are out on probation or paroled.

“When they get out, it will help them to get plugged into reading the Bible and going to a church,” he said. “It’s certainly a positive influence that may help them to stay out of trouble.”