Utah Department of Corrections

 

powwow

Dancers at Fall Powwow at Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, 2014.

Volunteers ensure the Department is able to meet the spiritual needs of inmates while maintaining a separation of church and state. There are more than two dozen religious affiliations claimed by inmates in state custody. To meet their spiritual needs, volunteers oversee a variety of activities, programs, scripture study and educational courses, prayer and worship services. Volunteers also provide religious-based addiction recovery groups, (LDS) Family Home Evening groups, (Native American) Sweat Lodge and Pipe ceremonies, and Sidda Yoga Meditation.

Chaplains, who are part-time employees of the Department, provide offenders with ecclesiastical counseling and non-denominational services. They assist both staff and offenders with crisis intervention and during personal and family trials. Chaplains are a resource for religious knowledge for staff, offenders and volunteers. They also maintain ongoing relationships with community religious leaders; have direct contact with offenders through consultations, programs and services; evaluate needs of offenders and decide the best sources available to meet those needs; answer questions regarding religious programs (services, symbols, reading material); and are a source for mediation (emergencies, deaths, fights, injuries) for staff and inmates.

Faiths and spiritual practices represented at the state prisons include:

Asatru

Athiest

Baptist

Buddhist

Catholic

Christian

Islam/Muslim

Jehovah's Witness

Jewish

Latter-Day Saint/Mormon

Lutheran

Methodist

Native American

Pentecostal

Protestant

Wicca