HOUSTON (KTRK) --They're some of the most violent offenders across the state of Texas and they're headed now to prisons across the state to try and convince others not to follow in their criminal footsteps.

Thirty-three convicts at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Darrington Unit on Monday graduated with a bachelor's degree in biblical studies. The program, paid for through the non-profit "Heart of Texas Foundation," requires that offenders complete a full four and half years of school and 125 academic hours before graduation.

The idea came several years ago after Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and State Sen. John Whitmire toured a prison in Louisiana that started a first-of-its-kind program and found it reduced violence within its walls - transforming it from one of the most bloody to one of the least.

"It's gonna be a bombshell in a positive way, what this program can do to turn around our prisons," said Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

The offenders will now be dispatched to prisons across Texas. They'll live among the general population and convince as many as they can to change their ways.

Baylor University is coming out with a study soon on whether this program has reduced violence at the TDCJ Darrington Unit or elsewhere within the prison system.