Since the early nineteenth century there have been salaried Chaplains within the prison system. The Chaplain is one of the three statutorily appointed officers of the prison, the others being the Governor and the Medical Officer. As officers of the Prison Service Chaplains are paid and subject to the same employment and disciplinary conditions as other staff. Today all Chaplains work as part of a multi-faith team.
Prison can be a closed world to the majority of the population. However men and women held in custody continue to have the same spiritual, material and emotional needs as others. Their lives are complicated by the loss of freedom. There future is often determined by the decisions of others. They often have feelings of guilt, hopelessness and helplessness.
Those in prison have access to ministers of their own denomination or faith to support them in their spiritual needs and in times of crisis. Chaplains, as well as caring for those of their faith community, exercise a pastoral ministry to the whole establishment, staff as well as prisoners. They lead worship, arrange groups and courses, visit those in the Healthcare Centre and segregation units. They see all new receptions and those who have asked to speak with a Chaplain.
Chaplains are a link between the establishment and the community. They work with volunteers who support them in their work. Volunteers visit prisoners and help in the running of groups. They are a reminder of the community's responsibilities toward those held in prison.
The above is only an outline of the Prison Service Chaplaincy, should you wish to know more feel free to contact the Chaplaincy Team in one of the prisons within the Diocese of Worcester.
Revd Margie Schutte
Hewell Lane, Redditch, Worcs. B97 6QS
Tel: 01527 785000
HMP Long Lartin
Kevin Downham, Managing Chaplain
South Littleton, Evesham, Worcs. WR11 8TZ
Tel: 01386 295302