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For Alabama Department of Corrections, you are required to attend a four-hour block of instruction. Contact Cameron Sheffield at 334 207-6538 or email@example.com for the latest training opportunities.
For the Federal Prison Camp, contact Chaplain Chris Douglas at (334) 293-2111.
Sensing a call to prison ministry, but don’t know where to get started? Here are a few questions to help you discern your call:
Contact Carl Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or (334) 580-0458, our director of prison ministry, or any person on the FBC Prison Ministry Team to help you assess where you will thrive in prison ministry. Once, you decide on a specific institution, program, or ministry, Carl or our other volunteers can connect you to the best person in that entity to begin your application process.
To volunteer in a prison, it’s best to understand the mission of a particular prison and the vision of the chaplain or religious services facilitator there. You will have to submit paperwork and attend a training session. The type of training varies from Federal to state to county to city. You may be required to provide an endorsement letter. In order to gain a security clearance to enter most correctional facilities, you may be required to provide your social security number, date of birth, driver’s license information and other personal information. It’s part of being a volunteer in a prison.
Manage your own application process with due diligence. Make sure you submit and sign everything required in a timely manner and follow through. Regularly check on the progress of your application, being sure to quickly provide anything that is missing. Once accepted into volunteer service in a correctional facility, plan to attend the volunteer training every subsequent year.
Right in the River Region area, there are 14 correctional facilities plus other ministries and services that help families of prisoners and inmates being released from prison.
There are many different types of correctional facilities, ranging from jails to penitentiaries to minimum-security prisons, and Federal, state, county, and municipal and privately owned facilities. Our incarcerated citizens vary in age, gender, culture, religion, education, degree of criminal offence and sentence, and in their levels of mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity, and in their physical wellness and ability to adjust back to the free world. Philosophies within prisons and the criminal justice system range from get-tough-on crime models to restorative justice and reconciliation models. Each prison has its own distinct mission and function and administrators and chaplains have their own unique styles of leadership.
Prison ministries vary. Examples include one-on-one counsel to inmates; leading or assisting in worship; musical and choral performance; leading Bible studies and discipleship groups; or facilitating training in life skills, family life, marriage, parenting, anger management, financial stewardship, and breaking addictions. Ministry to families of the incarcerated range from delivering Christmas gifts to children, helping to maintain foster homes for children, or sponsoring scholarships. Ministries to those being released to the free world include supporting halfway-type ministries to actually providing jobs and housing.
Carlton Fisher, D.Min., is our Prison Ministry Director. He retired as a chaplain from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after 20 years of ministry in maximum, medium and minimum-security prisons and retired as a chaplain from the U.S. Army Reserve after 29 years of service, retiring as a Brigadier General and Deputy Chief of Chaplains – U.S. Army Reserve. He earned three bronze stars from two tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan and is the author of My Brother’s Faith and Where Warrior’s Walk. After retiring from the military, Carl served as the North American Mission Board’s keynote speaker for 2018 chaplain training conferences. He now leads our prison ministry, serves on two community service boards and manages a farm in South GA. He is married to Lisa and they have three children; Hannah, Chloé, and Travis who is in the Army Chaplain Candidate Program and married to Amy. Carl thrives in the “ministry of reconciliation and strives to help “form a more perfect union.”