The importance of Chaplaincy is vital for Christians everywhere. Paul the Apostle recognized the importance of Correctional Chaplaincy as he was the first of its kind. Chaplains get to witness firsthand the transformational power of the Gospel like nowhere else! Chaplains are the inmate’s spiritual guidance as well as their counselors. They are their advocates of faith as well as legal guarantors of safe religious practice. Chaplaincy often requires many different tasks in the position, as well as being a liaison between the warden and the inmates.
Correctional Chaplains Defined by the States
A Correctional Chaplain is defined as:
- Person who provides religious services on a scheduled basis.
- A clergy person serving full-time/part-time in a religious capacity and employed by the Department.
- A minister, priest, imam, rabbi, or other leader of a religious denomination who is authorized by the Department of Correction to perform religious functions for inmates
- The person assigned by the Deputy Director/designee to oversee the administration and operations of all religious activities and to provide pastoral care to inmates and staff as needed
- A correctional employee or approved volunteer authorized to provide religious counsel, instruction, instruction, and advice to inmates and to provide a system of services or religious volunteers, ecclesiastical visitors, and guests for inmates
Common Chaplain Duties
- Chaplains establish a place for worship/service
- Maintain a schedule for services and activities that is visible to the inmates
- At a minimum, have a meeting once a week
- Arrange for outside pastors/chaplains/guest speakers to come in (with permission and clearance)
- Provide reading and other religious materials
- Be available upon request for individual counseling times
- Give religious instruction/education
- Hospice care when applicable
- Drafting budget requests and other requests
- Staff for volunteers/other chaplains
- Maintain relationship with chaplains of different faiths with open communication with them
- Attend meetings with warden/staff to be up to date with codes and procedures
- Have open communication with warden, guards, and other staff members pertaining to members of the congregation and religious services
- Ensure all religious rights are being upheld with communication between inmate, chaplain, and staff
- PREA advocacy with moral support and guidance
- Report any criminal activity or misconduct
- Keep records of requests, letters to chaplain, and any other important forms of communication
Books and Other Recommendations
Dr. Beckner briefly reviews the history of correctional chaplaincy and its development within the American criminal justice system and summarizes several significant studies of the profession. He examines the critical premises on which chaplaincy rests and presents a unique structural model of chaplaincy consisting of four critical dimensions: personal, pastoral, administrative, and community. Beckner then shows how this paradigm serves as a template for the development of a chaplaincy plan that will meet the needs of a specific institutional setting and can be monitored for effective results.
Dr.Henry G.Covert uses his experiences as both a police officer and state prison chaplain to examine the environment of the incarcerated – people who are often forgotten by society. He emphasizes particular areas of inmate stress and how they impact upon the inmate’s spiritual formation and the role of the Church in offering encouragement, healing and transformation. He calls for staff education, environmental improvements, and a pastoral presence that facilitates rehabilitation and hope,rather than discouragement and punishment. According to Dr.Covert, many inmates truly desire to change. The presence of the Church can be their strongest form of encouragement and support. He provides examples of biblical themes that can promote healing and regeneration among prisoners, drawing specifically on the teachings of Jesus.
Members Have Exclusive Access To Other Content Like:
- Volunteer Handbook: Successful Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Utilizing Volunteers
- Going Pro: Making the Case for Professional Chaplains
- Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act
- Chaplains Free And Donated Resources For Prison
- Addressing Vicarious Trauma for the Individual
- Pastoral Care and Counseling in Prison: What Works?