Chaplains have been designated by their faith community to provide services for federally sentenced offenders. Chaplaincy in the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) involves accompanying people affected by crime and incarceration. As individuals deal with fundamental spiritual issues, Chaplains assist them in achieving greater wholeness and fulfillment.
Chaplains use a unique approach based on the principles of restorative justice, an approach that emphasizes healing in victims, accountability of offenders, and the involvement of citizens in creating safer communities. Chaplains serve out of a deep sense of vocation and conviction, and offer a wide variety of assistance.
THE ROLE OF INSTITUTIONAL CHAPLAINCY
Institutionally, the restorative approach to address and respond to the harm caused by criminal behaviour is what shapes a chaplain’s relationship with offenders and staff. The concern for the well-being of victims, family members and for the community as a whole remains a priority.
Together, chaplains and their faith communities help:
- Bridge offenders back into the community in ways that engender belonging and fulfillment;
- provide a living experience and model of community to those who may have never known it;
- bring hope of restored community to those who have lost it;
- offer a voice to CSC, offenders and their families that is rooted in the teachings and traditions of the many faith communities of Canada; and
- fulfill a prophetic role, challenging staff and offenders whose words or actions diminish the worth and dignity of human life.
Community Chaplaincy services consists of faith-based organizations that support offenders and their families as they re-enter society. These agencies usually include a chaplain and numerous volunteers, who have received endorsement from their faith community. Chaplains and their supporting agencies operate independently from CSC, and are usually governed by a board of directors.
THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY CHAPLAINCY
Journeying is central to the work of Community Chaplaincy. Key areas of involvement include:
- Spiritual support
- Emotional support
- Support with medical concerns
- Mental health support
- Practical assistance
- Finding appropriate housing
- Self-help programs
- Community access
- Various mentorship groups
- Circles of Support and Accountability
- Others programs and support as needed
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Additional information about federal corrections in Canada is available on CSC’s Web site at www.csc-scc.gc.ca.