Counselling is a daily activity in the penal institutions. It is with the new admissions; repeat appointments and those to be released.
Here is a typical day in the life of a Chaplain:
- I am wrestling with how to communicate the findings of our investigation to an inmate who asked us to speak with his spouse, who he dearly loves, but now seems to be in a new relationship and has moved on.
- A member of staff is having an issue with her spouse. After a discussion, an appointment is made for future sessions.
- The planning of a Staff Enrichment Seminar to focus on stress management is high on the agenda for the day.
- I have to attend a special ceremony for 12 inmates who have completed a course in general construction and to be awarded HEAR/NTA certification.
- I am reflecting on the fact that 18 wards and 25 inmates have responded to the Gospel of Christ through baptism at two institutions. The religious volunteers are a tremendous support to the rehabilitation process.
On my way home, I am thinking about the presentation I will have to make to the community group on Juvenile Delinquency, when on reaching the stop light at Three Miles I hear a voice:
“Hey Miss Chaplain!” said the bag juice vendor. “Memba me? You help me well during my time at Tamarind and Richmond Farm suh mi caah figet yuh. Respect due – hole a bag juice!”
What a thirst quenching reward.
The Chaplaincy Unit consists of seven chaplains and a secretary, who are integrally involved in the daily lives of those who are a part of the penal system.