Jails and prisons have their challenges and would greatly benefit from help from the community. Religious organizations are willing to provide whatever help they can extend, but they too, identify roadblocks on how they’ll be able to do this seamlessly. This session provides an introduction to the concept of jail ministries and how religious organizations can be a part of it.
To talk about this are Dr. Dan Phillips and Brandon “Choe” Sergent. Dan is the Regional Coordinator for Faculty Development and an instructor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Campbellsville University in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He conducts workshops, provides in-service training, and writes on topics of mental health and jail chaplains. Meanwhile, Choe is the Assistant Vice President for University Outreach at Campbellsville University. He is also the Senior Pastor of Junction City First Baptist Church with a Master’s Degree in Theology, Management and Leadership, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership.
Points they discussed in this webinar are:
- An overview of the basic issues related to jails and volunteer work for jails.
- The challenges that religious organizations experience when it comes to extending support to jails.
- Securing buy-in to get involved with jail ministries by presenting the benefits to both the inmates and the community where the inmates will be integrated into upon release.
- The involvement required to be a part of the jail ministry and how to attract volunteers.
- The monetary requirement and other means to provide help and support for those incarcerated.
- The procedure that volunteers must go through to ensure they are qualified, capable and prepared for jail ministry work.
- The training that volunteers must undergo to familiarize themselves with jail policies and operation.
- The various activities that may be conducted as part of the jail ministry that allows them to provide help, support and guidance in different aspects of the inmates’ life
- The specific approaches and curriculum that the jail ministry is using and how these programs can be completed by the inmate in the community once released.
- Other forms of assistance and guidance that may be extended to the inmate’s family members to ensure a holistic approach to rehabilitation and recovery.
- The importance of regular, standardized and two-way communication channels between the jail and the religious groups.
- Why it is critical for the various religious groups providing jail ministry support to coordinate to avoid confusion, create coherence in the teaching, and ultimately provide the guidance that inmates need.
Dan and Choe tackled questions from the audience relating to:
- Keeping personal thoughts and feeling separate from work in jail ministry.
- The nuances between working as a minister in jail versus working in the prison setting.
- The estimated basic cost of running a jail ministry.
- Retired law enforcement personnel interested in volunteering for jail ministries.
- How to propose and present the need for a jail ministry program to agencies.
- The impact of having jail ministries to the inmates who participate in its activities.
- What the court requires from jails and prisons to provide inmates in relation to their faith.
- “Honest, practical suggestions from people who know what they are doing. Time well spent!” — Art
- “I truly enjoyed this webinar! Learned a lot about different ways to minister in jails and prisons!” — Deborah
- “Good information and ideas of what is working in other facilities.” — Lisa
- “The concept of out of the box thinking for Ministry groups (e.g., in this webinar, the idea of supplying inmate needs by reducing costs to jails).” — Anthony