Religious Services and Programs (PDF)
Shared by: Alexa Morrow
Religious and Volunteer Services and Programs P U B L I C S A F E T Y S O B R I E T Y E D U C AT I O N W O R K C I T I Z E N S H I P PA R E N T I N G Mission Statement Our mission is to protect the public by confining persons committed to our custody in safe, The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) provides secure facilities, and to provide opportunities for inmates to acquire the skills and values nec- a broad spectrum of faith-based programs to all inmates in essary to become productive law-abiding citizens; while respecting the rights of crime victims. state correctional institutions. April 2004 Edward G. Rendell, Governor www.cor.state.pa.us Jeffrey A. Beard, Ph.D., Secretary of Corrections Highlights Overview The Pennsylvania Department of Correc- Diets mandated by religion are accom- tions (DOC) provides a broad spectrum modated by the provision of a nutrition- The Department is com- of faith-based programs and services for ally adequate alternative protein substi- mitted to providing inmates all inmates in state correctional facilities. tute. This substitute is available at all with the opportunity to The religious services and programs meals. Inmates are also able to pur- practice the basic tenets of assure that inmates have the opportunity chase foods from the commissary to their faith through religious to practice the basic tenets of their faith. supplement what is provided through programs. Food Services. Chaplains often provide support for inmates during the most difficult times of Approximately 34,400 Chaplains their incarceration. Through the services inmates, or 84%, partici- There are 150 dedicated persons who and programs offered by the chaplaincy pate in religious services serve as chaplains in our facilities. department, inmates may find a new or or programs. Chaplains provide education, religious renewed basis for positive lifestyle services and guidance,as well as coun- changes. This cadre of chaplains and Worship services for Cath- seling and spiritual direction. This can volunteers play a critical role in an be the foundation for inmates making olic, Jehovah Witness, inmates spiritual growth by teaching a Jewish, Muslim, Native positive changes in their lives. They If you would like more information system of ethics, morals, and positive assist inmates in developing and nurtur- about Religious services and Pro- American, and Protestants everyday living skills. grams, please contact: are provided in all state ing a spiritual base that will help them to correctional institutions. cope with the difficulties of incarceration. Bureau of Inmate Services Religious Observations Chaplains are also available for staff in Pennsylvania DOC Over 2,700 citizens of the Holy Days of the major religions are observed in all SCIs. They support all who may be 717- 737-6538 Commonwealth volunteer the state correctional institutions (SCIs). Some experiencing a serious illness, difficulties or their time, talent and ener- religions have the requirement of a specific meal within the family or the death of a loved visit the DOC web site at one. www.cor.state.pa.us gies to provide a wide on their holy days as a tenet of their faith. Mus- spectrum of religious pro- lim inmates may participate in two meals, Eid-al- grams to the inmates in Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. Jewish inmates may partic- Volunteers our facilities. ipate in a Seder for Passover and Native Ameri- The DOC encourages and provides can inmates may participate in the Green Corn opportunities for responsible community There are 150 dedicated Feast. volunteers to support and enhance reli- persons who serve as gious services and programs. Volun- chaplains in our facilities Religious Accommodations teers represent various ethnic groups, on either a full-time or Each SCI has an area that is designated as a faiths and denominations. Their contri- part-time basis. multi-faith chapel. The Department has full-time, butions include Bible, Quranic, and contract and volunteer chaplains. These chap- Torah studies; retreats; worship servic- lains represent various faith traditions such as es; and other special services. Volun- Catholic, Jehovahs Witnesses, Jewish, Muslim, teers also serve as positive role models. Native American, and Protestant. All chaplains They help to provide a caring, positive must meet the basic requirements to be recog- outlook that is critical to inmates who are nized as a cleric of his/her faith and are expected trying to maintain hope for the future. to interact with persons of any faith. There are currently over 2,700 volun- teers providing spiritual and religious Approximately 34,400 or 84% of the inmate pop- services to the inmates in our facilities. ulation participate in religious services and pro- grams. Currently 7,488 Catholics, 435 Jehovah Witnesses, 190 Jews, 7,576 Muslims, 375 Native Americans, and 13,842 Protestants participate in their respective faith group services and studies.