North Carolina Cuts Back Prison Chaplaincy

December 4, 2002

Source: The Associated Press

On December 4, 2002 The Associated Press reported that "this year, the [NC] state legislature pared 24 chaplaincy positions at prisons across the state as part of a cost-cutting measure. It also called for a study to determine whether the entire prison chaplaincy program should be scrapped for a volunteer or community-funded program. Chaplain advocates say volunteers aren't trained to do the kind of interfaith work that chaplains provide daily. They cite studies that show trained chaplains can help reduce tension, decrease violent behavior and cut recidivism. Many are trained in pastoral counseling. 'We celebrate the inclusive ministry you provide' said the Rev. Mark Reamer, the chairman of the N.C. Advisory Committee on Religious Ministry in Prisons and associate pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Raleigh. Reamer, who volunteers at Central and Women's prisons, said he can administer the sacraments to Roman Catholic inmates, but he can't help the Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist prisoners. 'I'm no substitute for state-funded chaplains.'"