The Role of a Correctional Chaplain

A typical week as a Chaplain in the Salvation Army Correctional Services can vary daily.  Some primary responsibilities included conducting chapel services, offering inmate counseling, and teaching small groups.  In addition to these duties, I also got the opportunity to write curriculum in anger management with hired staff provided community resources.

Typically I would work an average of 5-6 days per week.  My hours of shift varied from early morning in the institution to a weekly class and a drive home until 9:00 p.m.  My education with a M.S. in Criminology and M.A. in Counseling enabled me to be both personal and professional in my work.   

Of the various responsibilities in correctional chaplaincy, I enjoyed group work the most.  Even in retirement I teach a weekly small group at the downtown Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal detention center with a population around 800 inmates.  A small group class also can be the most challenging because of the different personalities and backgrounds. 

If someone wanted to be involved in correctional chaplaincy, I would advise simply to prepare well and get all the training you can with a typically manipulative population.  To further my own preparation and training, I have chosen to be actively involved with the American Correctional Association, the largest one of its kind in the world, having served in several A.C.A. committees and coordinating the annual conference hospitality prayer and meditation room. 

For further information about the role of a Correctional Chaplain, Dale can be contacted at 847-778-9865.

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