175th Anniversary of Chaplaincy in Missouri Prisons

Chaplains - Lighting the way since 1843








Prison chaplaincy in Missouri began in 1843, four years after the construction of the Missouri State Penitentiary, with the Missouri General Assembly’s passage of Article 21:

“It shall be the duty of the inspector to provide for the moral and religious instruction of the convicts, and, for that purpose, they are hereby authorised to employ a chaplain for the penitentiary, at an expense not exceeding one hundred and fifty dollars per annum, to be paid, quarter annually, out of the State treasury.” - An Act by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, February 20, 1843

Since then, the chaplaincy within the Missouri Department of Corrections has evolved to support individual spiritual expression, formally accommodating:

  • Al Islam/Muslim
  • Buddhism
  • Christian-General
  • Christian-Roman Catholic
  • Messianic
  • Nation of Islam,
  • Native American
  • Moorish Science Temple of America
  • Wicca
  • Individual practice within each inmate's cell for other faith beliefs 

Spiritual services available in Missouri correctional centers include counseling; visits from community volunteers and clergy; religious dietary accommodations; a religious advisory council; worship services and studies; a chapel library; and special programming.

Religious & Spiritual Support »

Missouri State Penitentiary Chaplaincy

Chaplain with six prisoners from the mid-20th century.
A chaplain with offenders at Missouri State Penitentiary.
"He who converteth a sinner from the error of this way shall save a soul from death."
A Bible verse carved into the wall of Missouri State Penitentiary, by order of the governor.


























In the News

KRCG TV 13Missouri Department of Corrections celebrates 175 years of chaplaincy


Meet Some Chaplains

Chaplain Leon Miller, Potosi Correctional Center: "Ibelieve if we, as chaplains, can minister to the spiritual needs of an individual, then that spiritual need, being met, will bleed over into all areas of the institution."#MOPrisonChaplains175 pic.twitter.com/xaJoXNXUZr

— MoCorrections(@MoCorrections) September 26, 2018