Linda Ahrens

Linda Ahrens is a volunteer chaplain to staff at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago, and chaplain of the AJA. Linda grew up by Detroit in the ‘50s and studied journalism and marketing at Michigan State University. Linda then moved to Australia where she lived for 11 years, where she was a book editor at Reader’s Digest, did an MBA, had a marketing consultancy, studied construction, and renovated homes. In 1983, Linda moved to Montana where she created a national real estate newsletter that failed, raised chickens, chopped wood for a wood stove, then started and sold a dating service. In 1985, she moved to Chicago, worked for GE in marketing, and gained a master’s degree in oriental medicine/acupuncture.

In 1988, she learned that Jesus was God who died for her sin, so at 39 became a Christian. Linda settled down, because her search for contentment through worldly things was over. In the 35 years since, Linda has focused on learning and applying God’s word and, through her church, mentored at-risk youth and inmates at Cook County jail. In 2018, she became the jail’s first volunteer chaplain dedicated solely to correctional staff, where she roves tier to tier. Linda says, “These years connecting with correctional professionals have been the best of my life, for which I thank God, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the American Jail Association, and now the Justice Clearinghouse. Correctional professionals are inspiring; if the rest of the world were like you, we’d have a far, far better world.” Linda is also the chaplain of the American Jail Association. In June 2023 Linda also received the National Sheriffs’ Association’s 2023 Chaplain of the Year award.

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