Prison Chaplaincy Careers

The Potency of Faith in The Corrections Module

As humans are complex multi-faceted beings, so, too, are their needs when seeking out value, significance, and worth. They are more than the object of a program or the tool of a new initiative. There must be more than conformity and robotic compliance to those who are in power. So it is with the incarcerated person. Many are accustomed to "going along to get along". This perspective only works until the price for non-compliance is eclipsed by the delicious fruit of self-gratification. With this perspective, no price is too high, no level too low. Many times not even personal shame, loss of one’s family, one’s marriage or the return to prison can deter this self destructive behavior. There is an answer!

Offender speaks to Chaplain
Offender speaks to Chaplain

Instead of changing one's direction by sheer will, the entire "operations mechanism" must be replaced. This is where the faith component comes into play. Many offenders are eager to re-evaluate faith principals because they realize their self-seeking strategy has failed them miserably. Chapel programs challenge offenders to address the spiritual issues deep inside that they have ignored or denied. Prison chaplaincy is an exciting and rewarding career ministry. Offenders need to see chaplains as spiritual role models who effectively administer a professional chapel operation and orderly, relevant, "needs based" programming. Volunteers need to be directed and supervised in a team approach that is friendly and professional yet deliberate and strategic, placing offender’s needs above volunteer wants.

Perhaps it’s time to take a look at Prison Chaplaincy - maybe it’s for you!

Examples of Work Duties

  • Ensures freedom of religious practices as accommodated by the department
  • Provides spiritual guidance and care to all offenders without regard to cultural and/or religious differences
  • Manages and coordinates a multi-faith program according to offender needs
  • Recruits, trains and manages religious volunteers reflective of institutional need
  • Provides individual and/or group counseling for offenders and their families
  • Consults with professional and community groups on topics related to prison ministry
  • May conduct religious services or lead small groups as needed and as is feasible


  • Relate fairly and openly to all faith groups
  • Effectively participate as a multi-disciplinary team member in a correctional environment 
  • Work with religious volunteers of other faiths in an appropriate manner to meet the spiritual needs of all offenders
  • Correlate one’s spiritual convictions with the pluralistic demands of the position
  • Work creatively and harmoniously with persons of diverse cultures and faith backgrounds and their organizational structures
  • Make decisions based upon sound judgment and insight with emphasis on institutional safety and security
  • Determine, plan, promote and implement an ecumenically inclusive spiritual care program

Knowledge and Skills 

  • Working knowledge of comparative religion, methods of spiritual care and counseling in a correctional setting
  • Effective in communication and organization
  • Effective in administration and management
  • Formulate innovative methods and procedures to meet spiritual and emotional needs
  • Accommodation of all faiths and the corresponding values held by adherents


  1. Four or more years of experience in managing religious programming. Prior chaplaincy/counseling experience, prison/jail ministry experience, inter-faith work, and Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) training are desirable.
  2. A bachelor’s degree in religion, psychology, sociology or closely related field with course work in religion, comparative religions, or theology is preferred.
  3. Earned credit hours from an a credited college or university may be substituted on a year for year basis for a maximum of two years of the required experience at a rate of 30 earned credit hours for one year.
  4. Endorsement from the candidate’s religious body for ministry in a correctional setting is expected.


  • Missouri State Employees' Retirement System (MOSERS)
  • Major Health insurance (provided for employees and available for family)
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Cafeteria Plan
  • 12 Paid holidays per year
  • 10 hours of annual leave per month
  • 10 hours of sick leave per month
  • Ongoing training provided each year
  • Credit Union
  • Paycheck Direct Deposit
  • Employee health, wellness and safety initiatives
  • MOST (Missouri Saving for Tuition) 529 College Savings Program
  • Savings Bonds
  • Tax deduction for annual housing allowance
  • Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Administrative leave when applicable
  • Worker's Compensation
  • Annual salary (full-time): starts at $39,458
  • Retention Pay (1% increase per 2 years of service up to 20 years)
Religious/Spiritual Programming Mission-Vision-Values

Fully Accommodated Faith Groups

  • Al-Islam/ Muslim
  • Buddhism
  • Christian - General
  • Christian - Roman Catholic
  • Judaism
  • Messianic
  • Moorish Science Temple of America
  • Nation of Islam
  • Native American Spirituality
  • Wicca

Note: Other faiths are accommodated on a solitary practice level. 

Send resume to:

Religious/Spiritual Programming

P.O. Box 236

Jefferson City, Mo. 65102

Phone: 573-526-6489

FAX: 573-751-4099

Download this information as a printable brochure:

Prison Chaplaincy brochure