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: