Prison Chaplains: On the Front Lines in Correctional Facilities

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We gathered chaplain colleagues from across the country working in various correctional contexts, including private / federal / state / county, men’s and women’s, juvenile / adult facilities for a critical conversation on providing care and hope during the pandemic. On May 13, 2020 the Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime, Director of Religion and Civic Engagement at Odyssey Impact led panelists representing a range of corrections facilities, fields of expertise, a variety of faith identities and educators in a thoughtful conversation on providing spiritual care during the pandemic when the complexities have multiplied: grief needs, religious accommodations, strain on already scant resources, increased stress and trauma on both those who are incarcerated and staff.

What I think COVID is doing is, it's making a wider network of us aware of the need for more resources inside to handle these issues.

Resources to help lead congregations, communities and classroom
discussion on topics related to incarceration and spiritual care.

To help you in your work, please review the video excerpts of the intimate conversation, curated by Dr. Rachelle Green, Fordham University, along with brief expert reflections, discussion questions and suggested additional resources.

Care for Care-Givers
Curated Video Clip #1

Duration [5:19]

Magnifying Loss
Curated Video Clip #2

Duration [4:50]

Considering the Families and Children of the Incarcerated
Curated Video Clip #3

Duration [3:24]

Expert Reflection and Discussion Guide

We hope that the accompanying written resources will support you in your work supporting those who are incarcerated, or while engaging these issues in faith and educational settings during this time. We have heard from our wider network that these “bite-sized” resources are ideal for those who are on front lines providing spiritual care in correctional facilities. These resources are also ideal for clergy cohort groups, deacon / congregational care teams, seminary education modules, and general faith leader edification and support.

Dr. Rachelle Green

For these curated video clips and written resources, we are grateful to Dr. Rachelle Green of Fordham University. Rachelle Green is an Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Emory University’s Person, Community, and Religious Life program. In her doctoral program, Green directed the Certificate in Theological Studies Program, a theological education program for women in prison. She also served a two-year term as the Assistant Director of the Youth Theological Initiative, a theological education program for high school juniors and seniors.

Caring for ourselves as we're trying to care for other people, we also have to temper that. We can't give people what we don't have.

Panel Moderator:

Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime

Director of Religion and Civic Engagement
Odyssey Impact

Panelists:

Chaplain Zeynab Abdullayeva

Albion Correctional Facility
New York

Dr. Rachelle Green

Fordham University
New York

Rev. Lillian Hines

Northern State Prison
New Jersey

Rev. Ulli Klemm

Religious Services Administrator
Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections
Pennsylvania

Rabbi Dr. Shaul Marshall Praver

Cheshire Correctional Institute
Connecticut

Special thanks to our Co-Presenting Partners on this Live Town Hall: