Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Contract ministers are employed by all prison systems in the United States to offer pastoral care to inmates whose religious beliefs may not be adequately covered by the staff prison chaplain. Increasing numbers of these contract workers are being hired, as some jurisdictions have decided not to employ full-time chaplains. At their best, contract ministers can offer a broad range of religious options and care to the inmate community. They may also, however, operate at somewhat of a disadvantage, since they are not part of the full-time prison staff. In general, contractors are expected to respect the interfaith ethos of prison ministry and it is understood that proselytism in all forms is forbidden. All federal and most state prisons in the United States have at least one chaplain on staff who ministers to the diverse religious needs of the inmate community. With the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ...