William Donald Schaefer, Governor
Bishop L. Robinson, Secretary
Arnold J. Hopkins, Commissioner

Department of Public Safety
and Correctional Services

Enhanced Chaplaincy Services
In Support of the
Maryland Division of Correction
Action Agenda Plan

Editor, Nancy Williams, Director
Religious & Volunteer Services

Essentially, the action plan was a proposal to justify the need, explain a rationale and propose a method on how to increase chaplaincy services from 1989 to 1992.  Basically, the plan proposed to gradually increase the chaplain-to-inmate ratio to the Federal standard of 1:500.  As reported by Nancy Williams to M.G. Maness on February 14, 2001, most of the goals of the plan have been implemented.  The only changes in the following from the original were in the enumeration to make it more web friendly.

       Executive Summary  
~Click to go to section~
    I. Program Strengths
   II. Court Actions and Impact on Religious Services
  III. Some Problems
   IV. Recommendations to Address the Problems
    I. Philosophy, Policy & Scope of Chaplaincy Activities
         A. Underlying Philosophy  
         B. Policy  
         C. Staffing
         D. Formation of a Council of Clergy
         E. Scope of the Chaplain's Activities
   II. Qualifications for Chaplains
          A. Formal    B. Personal Qualities
  VII. Duties of the Chaplain           XI. Use of Volunteers
 VIII. Compensation for Chaplains      XII. Implementation
   IX. Training Full-time Chaplains   XIII. Advantages of Model
    X. Hiring Process                  XIV. Considerations


 Executive Summary

Historically the chaplaincy program has been part of correctional services to inmates in the Maryland system as well as in correctional institutions throughout the country.  Recently, Maryland's chaplaincy program has experienced several dramatic changes, driven by both internal and external forces.  Among the changes are the need to respond to a broader range of religious beliefs, the transition to contractual part‑time chaplain positions from full-time State positions, the central coordination of chaplaincy services, and a number of other modifications dictated by changes within the correctional system, including its growth.

Various religious interest groups have expressed concern that some of the changes have impacted negatively on the effectiveness of the chaplaincy program.

In response to internally identified issues and the concerns of the community, we have completed an in-depth review of our chaplaincy program.  What follows is an analysis of the program, its strengths and its weaknesses, and the problems associated with those weaknesses, as well as a proposal that is strongly recommended for implementation.

The major elements of the proposal are:

*     The establishment of a Council of Clergy to advise on program development and evaluation.

*     The establishment of a chaplain's job description, to include minimum qualifications for chaplains.

*     The development of goal-directed program elements consistent with the mission of the Division of Correction and its institutions, which will include qualifications and roles for community volunteers.

*     The requirement of appropriate preparatory and ongoing training for chaplains.

*     An increase in the ratio of chaplains to inmates from .51:500 to .94:500, over a three‑year period and to be completed in FY 92.

*     The identification of financial resources necessary to meet these increases as implemented under a three-year plan.  The three-year plan calls for an FY 90 increase of $139,677, or 32.5% over the FY 89 budget; another increase in FY 91 of $120,291, or 21.1% over the FY 90 budget; and, finally, in FY 92, an additional increase of $111,375, or 16.1% over the FY 91 budget.  The combined FY 90, 91, and 92 increases come to an increase of $371,343, or 86.3% over the FY 89 budget.

*     The provision for a hiring system to include the review and approval of all chaplains by the central office.

*     The inclusion of a proposed schedule for implementation.

*     A presentation of the religious services program at Patuxent and application of the proposed Division model to that facility.

We recommend that the proposal as submitted be implemented.  We believe that the mission of the Division will be enhanced and that the internal operations of the institutions and individual inmates may well benefit. 

I.  Program Strengths

In an attempt to meet the mission of the Division of Correction and comply with legal requirements, the Division offers religious services to those inmates who wish to participate.

This program enjoys a number of strengths that help carry out the program intent.

1.  The program employs several caring and dedicated chaplains who work beyond the number of hours required.

2.  There is a headquarters position, Chief, Religious and Volunteer Services, whose area of responsibility includes the chaplaincy program.

3.  Institutional managing officers generally support the concept of professional chaplaincy.

4.  Various agencies and religious bodies dedicated to prison ministry have shown a great interest in the well being of inmates and in the support of an effective chaplaincy program.

5.  About 20% of the inmate population actively participates in some form of religious services. It appears that the general population holds the position of chaplain in high regard.

6.  Chaplains provide much needed support and service to correctional staff.

7.  Inmates report that their participation in religious services activities gives them hope and direction for the future, and helps them cope with stresses associated with incarceration.


II.  Court Actions and Impact on Religious Services 

A.  Civil No. B-76-1676 and Civil No. H-77-48

On September 4, 1979, Civil No. B-76-167 6 and Civil No. H-77-48 was signed by United States Magistrate Frederick N. Smalkin.

Under this action, the following has occurred:

*     The Maryland Penitentiary has a three-fifths (or 21.3 hours per, week) full-time position for Islamic Coordinator; the remaining two-fifths (or 14.2 hours per week) is assigned to the Maryland House of Correction.

*     The Maryland Penitentiary provides nutritionally acceptable meat substitutes when pork products are served as part of a meal.

*     An area of the Maryland Penitentiary has been designated for use by Muslim inmates.

*     The Muslim population at the Maryland Penitentiary has been authorized to select an inmate Imam (religious leader).

*     Maryland Penitentiary inmates gather daily for congregational prayer.

While the above stipulations as directed in the court order apply to only the Maryland Penitentiary, two have become common practices at all institutions.  All inmate Muslim communities select a peer religious leader and all institutions provide pork substitutes at meals.

All institutions have designated a time and place for Muslim worship and study activities.  Some have identified a room, or more than one room, for the exclusive use of the Islamic community.

Funds have been set aside by the three institutions in Hagerstown for a part-time Islamic Coordinator.  Traditionally, however, it has been difficult to recruit and maintain a qualified Islamic Coordinator on a part-time basis, as the only applicants have been from Baltimore or Washington, a good 90 miles from Hagerstown.


B.  Civil Action No. K-78-77

On July 31, 1979, Civil Action No. K-79-77 was signed by United States Magistrate Frederic N. Smalkin.

This court order provides that the administration of the Maryland House of Correction will provide a time and place for all inmates professing the Moorish Science faith to worship and study.  While at the Maryland House of Correction there are multiple bodies calling themselves Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc., which prefer not to worship together, the decision does not require the administration to provide a separate area for each group.

While all institutions provide a worship time and place for inmates of the Moorish Science faith to worship and study, the Maryland.  House of Correction has been the only institution with competing groups of Moorish Science adherents.


C.  Case No. 15041

Case No. 15041 in the Circuit Court for Washington County was issued on April 18, 1988, by Judge John P. Corderman.

This decision upheld Inmate Grievance Commission Order 18016, of June 10, 1987, in which the Division of Correction was to investigate service alternatives for Catholic inmates at Roxbury Correctional Institution.  Alternatives ranged from continuing to use the volunteer services of a priest to hiring a full-time Catholic chaplain.  The absence of a paid chaplain did not, however, infringe on the suing inmate's "constitutional right to practice his religion."


III.  Some Problems

The following practices constitute the primary causes of problems associated with the Division of Correction religious services program.

1.  Due to budgetary considerations, the arbitrary allocation of part-time contractual chaplaincy hours to institutions without consideration of job function, or institutional population and function.

2.  Hiring of chaplains at the institutional level and the prerogative of the warden to allocate the part-time contractual hours to more than one service provider, as well as the prerogative of the warden to determine how the provider uses those hours.

3.  The absence of minimum hiring qualifications.

4.  The absence of a philosophy of program operation reflective of the mission of the Division of Correction.

The above four factors contribute to the following problems associated with the religious services program.

5.  The absence of an enforceable, goal-directed program protocol consistent with the mission of the Division of Correction and with the institutional mission.

6.  The absence of a job description which contains realistic expectations of chaplains and which represents a philosophy of program operation.

7.  The inability to require chaplains to attend academy training for professional employees and in-service training relevant to job duties.

The seven factors above are manifested in these ways:

8.  Institutional chaplain(s) determine duty priorities, program content and structure based on their individual capabilities and parochial views, and under the constraints of being allocated only part-time hours.

9.  Volunteers are under-supervised and not held accountable programmatically.

10.  The relationship among chaplains working at the same institution can be characterized as non-communicative and at times strained, rather than as a relationship which is reflective of a ministerial team concept.

11.  Chaplains and security professionals often undermine the work of one another.

12.  Chaplains are resistant to being held accountable to Headquarters.

13.   At times, it is questionable that faiths represented among the inmate population are being treated equitably.

14.  Inmates file complaints, both formal and informal, as a consequence of decision making of wardens based on the advice of poorly informed chaplains.


IV.  Recommendations to Address the Problems

Incorporation of the following policy and practices will mitigate, and in some instances resolve, the identified problems.

1.  Allocation of chaplaincy positions according to a job description based on program philosophy consistent with the mission of the Division of Correction, and based on institutional size and function.

2.  Establishment of minimum qualifications using the standards set forth by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

3.  Establishment of a Secretary's consultation committee of community clergy, referred to as the Council of Clergy.

4.  Hiring coordinated by the Chief, Religious and Volunteer Services, Headquarters, and assisted by the Council of Clergy.

5.  The development of goal-directed program elements operational in all institutions and consistent with the mission of the institution. Constitutional consideration will provide parameters for program development.

6.  Requirements for academy training and function related in-service training attendance.

7.  The development of volunteer roles and volunteer accountability consistent with program protocol. 



 I.  Philosophy, Policy & Scope of Chaplaincy Activities

A.  Underlying Philosophy

Noted sociologist Emile Durkheim identifies three functions of religion in society.  These three functions serve as the framework for the role of chaplain in the correctional setting.1

1.   Religion deals with "things considered sacred (objects or persons inspiring awe, reverence, and respect) as compared to things considered profane (objects or persons ordinary, mundane, and not sacred)."

This function of religion is provided for by virtue of the First Amendment guarantees.  The state must accommodate the religious practices of inmates at their initiative and subject to security considerations.  Here the chaplain provides for education in and the ritualistic expression of religious beliefs.

2.   "Strengthening of social norms through the reinforcement of values, attitudes, beliefs, and the moral order.  These provide a common basis preserving and solidifying common mental and behavioral performances necessary for stabilizing society."

The embodiment of the second function of religion in the pastoral mission is consistent with and supports the mission of the Maryland Division of Correction.  For the chaplain, the validity of social values comes from their being rooted in some form of scripture and/or based on the traditions and teachings within the practiced faith.  Thus, the chaplain conveys to the inmate the possibility of living within a framework acceptable to both the temporal and transcendental or supernatural order.

3.   "Religion provides support and consolation of individuals unable to cope with everyday life, disasters, conflicting situations and/or explanations beyond immediate comprehension."

The chaplain is called upon to attend to the needs and wants of inmates almost daily, for these are persons who often find themselves in situations which demand internal and external resources they do not have.  The chaplain reaches out spontaneously, providing humanizing care, comfort, guidance, and assistance.  It is part of the job of chaplain to provide this kind of support not only to inmates, but to their families, and to staff as well; it is part of the ministry to provide it not only in the office but throughout the institution, and not only by appointment between the hours of "nine to five" but round the clock if necessary.

The chaplain, in responsibly attending to the short-term needs of inmates, is readying them to accept interdisciplinary efforts toward the longer term goals of rehabilitation and reintegration.  Importantly, the chaplain is also meeting human needs which, if ignored, make institutional security and management more difficult and hazardous.


B.  Policy

It is the policy of the Division of Correction that inmates shall have absolute freedom of religious beliefs, and, within security and program limitations, that inmates have a reasonable opportunity to exercise those religious beliefs.  All religions are to receive equal status and protection.

Chaplaincy Services, along with other Division programs and activities, attempts to maximize the opportunity for inmates to make the incarceration experience a productive period of personal change and growth, through easing the debilitating pain associated with incarceration and by providing a voluntary forum for the investigation of acceptable life-style alternatives.

Inmate participation in religious programming is voluntary.


C.  Staffing

It is recommended that the religious services program be staffed at the ratio of one chaplain to 500 inmates.  Five-hundred inmates are considered the maximum one chaplain can efficiently service with pastoral care and also provide worship experiences for the six to eight religious groups currently found among the Division population, supervise religious volunteers, and perform attendant administrative duties.

This ratio is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Division-wide FY 88 ratio of chaplains to inmates is .49:500 (12.6 full-time positions).  The projected FY 89 ratio is .51:500.  The ratio will change over the proposed three-year implementation plan, becoming .68:500 (18.4 full-time positions) in FY 90; .81:500 (22.4 full-time positions) in FY 91; and, .94:500 (26.4 full-time positions) in FY 92.

A yearly breakdown of numbers of chaplains, costs, and ratios of chaplains to inmates by institution, and in both actual numbers and relative percentages can be found in Appendices charts.


D.  Formation of a Council of Clergy

A religious services consultation committee composed of clergy representatives of the religions to which inmates belong will perform the following functions:

1.  Assist in program and standards development and evaluation within departmental guidelines.

2.  Assist in a periodic review and evaluation of the chaplain job description, including duties and qualifications;

3.  Assist in the recruitment of chaplains;

4.  Screen chaplaincy applicants for minimum qualifications;

5.  Periodically visit each institution to observe operation of the program and make recommendations; and,

6.  Advise regarding the religious obligations of particular faiths.

The Council of Clergy will be composed of 7-15 clergy as appointed by the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services.  The term of a member will be three years except for the initial appointments.  The term of members will be staggered; one-third of initial appointments will be for one year, one-third will be for two years, and one-third will be for three years.

The Secretary will make appointments to the Council of Clergy in consultation with and in consideration of advice given by appropriate community groups, such as faith groups and ministerial associations.  Interested parties such as these may submit names for membership for the Secretary's consideration.  Division chaplains may not be members of the Council of Clergy.

The Commissioner of Correction and Director of Patuxent Institution will serve as ex officio members.  The Chief, Religious and Volunteer Services for the Division of Correction will provide administrative support for the council.

In order to carry out the functions identified above, the council will structure itself appropriately within departmental guidelines, subject to the approval of the Secretary.


E.  Scope of the Chaplain's Activities2

The chaplain is Representative of that which is transcendent, whatever that may mean to the inmate.  He or she is a constant reminder of the uniqueness of the human being.  He or she conveys that life involves faith, hope, and love; that life calls for meaning, purpose, and direction.

Adapted and paraphrased from a paper by Guy Greenfield, entitled "Theological Issues in Corrections."

The Chaplain is Minister of Pain.  He or she is healer of pain that comes with being human and experiencing life.  And the healer of pain associated with incarceration -- the pain of loneliness, the pain of separation from family, the pain of living with doubts about the ability to change, the pain of humiliation, the pain of hostility, the pain of failure, and the pain of fearing for one's life.

The Chaplain is Specialist of the Interior. The concern is about what is often called the spiritual part of the person, as well as the mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral.  The chaplain tries to save the person from rejecting the self while still facing the wrong one has done.  The chaplain must help the individual find meaning in life without imposing his or her personal theology or religious doctrine.

The Chaplain is Facilitator of the Spiritual Community.  Acting out of the belief that it is through our interactions with others that we are challenged, find support, and grow, the chaplain provides connection with the external religious community as identified and desired by the inmate.

The Chaplain is a Model of Transformation and Growth.  The chaplain shows by example the possibility for change, and that life is a process which calls us to struggle constantly with change.  The message to the inmate is "Let me show you what works in my life," rather than the finger-pointing message "Now this is what you are to do, and this is what you are to believe."

The Chaplain is a Communicator and Clarifier of Values.  He or she reacquaints the inmate with accepted values, helps the inmate explore them from all angles and depths, and creatively aids in translating those values into behavior.

The Chaplain is Advocate of Humane Treatment.  He or she is advisor to administration on how to make the depersonalizing prison environment as humane as possible.


II.  Qualifications for Chaplain

A.  Formal

1.  A bachelor's degree from an approved and accredited college.

2.  An earned graduate degree in the disciplines of theology, religious studies, or sacred studies from an accredited institute, seminary, or equivalent.

3.  Certification by a recognized ecclesiastical body.

4.  Written approbation and current endorsement of the appropriate official ecclesiastical body.

5.  Two years of ministerial experience following certification, or an acceptable equivalent experience, in that the applicant has fashioned a firm pastoral identity.

6.  A period of supervised pastoral experience is preferred.  Practical parish, military, or institutional experience may be an acceptable substitute for this training.  Preference for appointment will be given to those who have demonstrated special skill in pastoral care and counseling.

B.  Personal Qualities

1.  Must have a clear pastoral role identity.

2.  Must have a working knowledge of the behavioral sciences.

3.  Must have the ability and willingness to perform administrative and resource coordination functions.

4.  Must have a capacity and willingness to provide for ministry to persons of faith groups other than one's own, without attempting conversion, and with equal quality of attention.

5.  Must have the capacity and willingness to work harmoniously with other clerical, security, and professional staff and volunteers.

6.  Must have the willingness and capacity to pursue one's own sense of professional mission within the framework provided by standardized program protocol and institutional permission.


VII.  Duties of the Chaplain

A.  1% -- Identify the religious requirements of the inmate population.

B.  25% -- Provide worship services, religious instruction, and the sacraments for inmates of the chaplain's faith; provide for the worship and sacramental needs of other inmates through volunteer community clergy.

C.  2% -- Consult with appropriate clergy and/or official representatives of faiths to which inmates belong regarding religious practice requirements, and advise the warden regarding accommodation of practice.

D.  7% -- Select, train, and supervise religious services volunteers regarding the content and structure of activities.  Observe for adherence to program philosophy and guidelines, and to institutional regulations.

E.  5% -- Design and deliver program protocol designed to support and implement the mission of the Division and the institution.

F.  50% -- Other pastoral functions:

1.  Provide crisis (including bereavement) counseling.

2.  Provide individual and/or group spiritual, coping, and values counseling.

3.  Provide family support at the request of the inmate and family, with the approval of the warden.

4.  Routinely visit all areas of the institution consistent with security and program considerations.

5.  Respond to special requests to be seen by inmates, especially as concern special confinement inmates.

6.  Refer inmates to appropriate institutional staff, if necessary, and to external resources which provide viable services meeting identified needs.

G.  10% -- Perform attendant administrative functions, including documentation of program activities and contributions of volunteer organizations. 

Seven-day-per-week coverage can be provided at institutions to which two or more full-time chaplains are assigned.  Where there are two or more chaplains, one will assume duties associated with overseeing the institutional religious services program.  That chaplain will be so designated by the warden.


VIII.  Compensation for Chaplains

A.  Chaplains who are currently State employees will retain their status as Chaplain II, Grade 14.

B.  Those who are now contractual employees and who, at the discretion of the warden, will be retained as a chaplain for that institution, will be grandfathered in as to requirements but not as to salary.  They will remain contractual chaplains at the rate of Chaplain II, Base.  Full-time chaplains will work 35.5 hours per week.

C.  All chaplains hired beginning FY 89 must meet the above qualifications for chaplain, and will be contractual employees compensated at Chaplain II, Base.

D.  The compensation system will be reviewed annually.


IX.  Training for Full-time Chaplains

Chaplains must participate in correctional orientation and ongoing training to effectively carry out their responsibilities.  The following are minimum training requirements which must be met:


A.  Completion of Training Academy.

B.  Completion of institutional pre-service training.

C.  Completion of annual in-service training as required for professional employees.

D.  Training as arranged by the Chief, Religious and Volunteer Services, including, but not limited to:

1.  Legal issues in religious programming.

2.  Middle Management (goal setting, organization, communication, supervision, etc.)

3.  Decisions protocol.

4.  Treatment modalities.

5.  Administrative Remedy and Grievance Procedures.

6.  Basic beliefs and practices of major faith groups.


X.  Hiring Process

A.  Positions for chaplains will be appropriately advertised.  Candidates may be recommended by the warden of the institution, members of the Council of Clergy, and independent religious organizations.

B.  The Council of Clergy will assist in screening applicants.

C.  The Chief, Religious and Volunteer Services, will chair an interview panel composed of at least three, including the warden or designee and one chaplain.  The panel will recommend a candidate for the position to the warden.

Standardized interview questions and a rating system will be developed.


XI.  Use of Community Volunteers

Generally, the religious programs' 600 community volunteers will continue to support and augment the primary service provider, the chaplain.  For faiths in which a chaplain is not ordained or properly certified to serve as religious leader, the primary source provider may be community volunteer clergy referred to as "adjunct chaplain".  Volunteers for all faiths will continue to share the worship experience with inmates and teach religious studies.

New roles for volunteers will be developed consistent with program protocol as designed by the chaplains.  This will require a renewed commitment on the part of volunteers and their willingness to participate in a new type of training as provided by the chaplains.


XII.  Implementation

A proposed schedule for implementation of tasks beyond the development of chaplaincy positions can be found in Appendix F, Task Schedule: Three-Year Implementation Plan.


XIII.  Advantages of this Chaplaincy Model

A.  Provides staffing sufficient to allow the Division to meet and exceed the minimum religious requirements for the practice of all faiths.

B.  Provides staffing sufficient to develop and deliver a standardized, goal‑directed services program consistent with Division of Correction and institutional missions.

C.  Broadens the scope of program services within the Division of Correction.

D.  Satisfies terms of consent decree requiring Islamic Coordinators.  (Civil No. B-76-1676 class action)

E.  Provides for input of the religious community as structured in the form of the Council of Clergy.

F.  Provides for clear role identification for community volunteers as part of the delivery of goal-directed program elements.

G.  Provides professional status to the position of chaplain, thus assuring accountability.

H.  Provides for training for full-time chaplains.

I.  Integrates the chaplain into the program services team.

J.  Sets a reasonable standard, one followed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons of 1 chaplain to 500 inmates division-wide.

K.  Meets human service and religious service needs, identified as important by legitimate public and/or religious interest groups.

L.  Provides for establishment of a Council of Clergy, minimum hiring qualifications, a job description, and a centralized hiring process.


XIV.  Considerations

A.  Additional office space and office supplies, furniture, etc. may be needed in some institutions.

B.  Temporary assignments for chaplains will be required in anticipation of modifications to major facilities and resulting changes in population figures per the Action Agenda.

C.  The impossibility of staffing each institution with chaplains of all faiths of religiously active inmates is recognized.  However, it will be possible to obtain that representation within the Division of Correction staffing and on the Council of Clergy.



1Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, New York: Free Press, 1966.

2Adapted and paraphrased from a paper by Guy Greenfield, entitled, “Theological Issues in Corrections.”