Corrective Services NSW

The role of a chaplain

The Chaplaincy Service includes priests, Imams, Rabbis, members of religious orders and lay people. Chaplains are from various faith traditions including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Sikh. They are trained to minister to inmates and staff of many faiths or without religious faith. When prioritising pastoral care, they assist people to draw upon their own beliefs, culture and networks. 

Chaplains are not employees of the public service. They are independent under NSW legislation and have access to correctional centres through the accreditation and/or approval of the Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW.

Chaplains work alongside other professionals in correctional centres to ensure that the needs of the whole person are being addressed. Chaplains contribute to case management as part of the Offender Services and Programs staff team.

They have had clinical pastoral training to assist people in crisis and to minister to a broad range of pastoral concerns associated with the correctional environment. A chaplain is expected to be a listening, caring and familiar figure who gives comfort and encouragement. They are to be accepting, objective and trustworthy, conveying reliability and reassurance. Chaplains focus on the total person, providing emotional, pastoral and spiritual support, while also being available to speak about issues of faith. They contribute to the wellbeing of inmates and staff, and also of correctional centres as a whole.

Last updated:

11 May 2023

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Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

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