Finding Faith in Jail

Any inmate looking for a positive change through a faith-based group can seek help from Transforming Jail Ministries.

The organization provides more than 30 chaplains who respond to individual religious requests. The chaplains visit the jail and speak with inmates confidentially.

Director and CEO Stuart Warren says the chaplains provide stability in a place that is dark, cold and untrustworthy.

“[Inmates] are at a place they’re not comfortable with or not familiar with, so they are searching for an answer to fix that. A lot of people will turn to religion as one of those avenues to see if there is an answer for them.” 

There are both Christian and Muslim chaplains. Transforming Jail Ministries also offers a clergy contact visiting program, where clergy can be requested to meet with inmates face-to-face.

When speaking with a chaplain or clergy, inmates can talk freely without fear of judgment. Transforming Jail Ministries workers are not employed through the sheriff’s department. The only information workers must report is self-harm or harm to others. Everything else is private.

Grief intervention is also available if someone loses a loved one or a close friend. Chaplains and clergy are available to speak with inmates or just be there to listen.

During the holidays, Transforming Jail Ministries plans to deliver 20,000 cookies on Christmas Eve to inmates inside of Hamilton County Justice Center. The organization also provides eyeglasses, religious books and greeting cards year-round.

“If they have a kid or a wife or a family member with a birthday, we’ll provide cards. They can send those home,” Warren says. “When my dad was in prison, that always meant a lot to me.”

Inmates seeking service or any materials from Transforming Jail Ministries can make a request through the kites.