Once a person finds himself/herself in prison, it often is a time to “take stock” and to reflect back over events/relationships/decisions and choices that preceded such incarceration. During this time inmates have time for introspection which often leads to a desire to talk to someone outside their situation about their lives, their problems and hopes.
This counseling may come from a professional in a specialized field but very often the inmate realizes a desire to “connect with God again”.
The Prison offers several opportunities for inmates to attend religious meetings and to be counseled individually. This service cannot be offered by the institution without the assistance of community volunteers. Whilst the Chaplain Service is responsible to manage the service in a responsible, safe and orderly manner, it is the volunteers who provide most of the labor. Religious services and events are arranged every day of the week.
Procedure to Register as a Religious Volunteer/Visitor
Please follow the Registration Instructions that include studying the Guidelines for all Visitors in Corrections and completing the Application Form. Be sure to only download/use the latest documents available on this website.
The Chaplain’s Office uses the same documents for new/first time applicants, to update information of existing registered religious volunteers/visitors and to renew the registration of volunteers whose status expired.
Terms and Conditions to Serve as a Religious Volunteer/Visitor
Approved religious volunteers/visitors (i.e obtained security clearance) will be registered with the Chaplain’s Office after they studied and acknowledged the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This will involve signing the PREA Acknowledgement Form (will be emailed to you) at Chester County Prison in the presence of the Assistant- Chaplain, an authorized witness.
Once their name is added to the list of approved religious volunteers they may arrange individual visits and/or participate in a team responsible for scheduled religious services on condition that they attend a 3-hour ReTURNing Hearts Reentry training session within 12 months of registration.
Please note that all volunteers/visitors to Chester County Prison will be required to show proof of identity.
Procedure to Arrange Individual Religious Counseling Sessions
The Chaplain’s administrative office is responsible to arrange and schedule all religious visits at the prison with at least two business days in advance notice. Follow these guidelines:
Contact the Chaplain’s Administrative Office via email firstname.lastname@example.org (preferably) or phone 610-942-9142 and leave a voice message containing all the details of an appointment request. Include the proposed date, day of week, time (see official guidelines for professional visitors), inmate name, offender ID/county number and the location/venue (main prison or work release center) with these requests.
Participation in Scheduled Chapel Services/Classes
Let us know whether you are affiliated with a group/church that is currently responsible for a scheduled religious event. We will then confirm the weekly program schedule events for your case.
New information about the reentry ministry at Chester County Prison is shared with approved “professional religious volunteers” by means of PRV News, the Chaplain’s monthly electronic newsletter. Read archived editions of PRV News here.