The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA chaplaincy programs provide pastoral and religious assistance to meet the needs of non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security in five U.S. federal detention centers located in Florida, Texas, Arizona and New York. These programs enable people of all faiths to have access to pastoral care within their faith tradition. In 2015, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA chaplaincy programs at DHS facilities coordinated 2,172 religious services, 587 religious teachings, and 1,076 spiritual support sessions totaling 117,342 unique or multiple participations by detainees.
JRS/USA's chaplaincy staff spent 1,834 hours of direct service offering religious services, religious teachings, and spiritual support. In addition, chaplains spent 1,304 hours visiting detainees in special housing units as well as 2,650 hours providing detainees with religious items, processing requests for religious diets, handling marriage requests, tending to special needs, facilitating volunteer applications, and addressing emergency notifications. Volunteers played a significant role by providing 3,105 hours for religious services, religious teachings, and spiritual support.
The religious profile of the detainee population participating in chaplaincy programs was 37% Roman Catholic, 45% other Christian faiths, 7% Muslim, and 11% other religions, mostly Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafari, and Sikhism. Fourteen percent of services were offered in English; 62% in Spanish or bilingual English/Spanish, and 24% were in other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Punjabi.
An interview with Sister Lynn Allvin who works as a chaplain in a federal detention centers, providing pastoral and religious assistance for non-US citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security.
Detention center chaplain provides hope (Miami) March 28, 2016 — Life can
take many unconventional twists and turns. From bodyguard to air traffic
controller to airline executive to Catholic lay minster, Carlos Bustamante has
enjoyed an exceptionally full life. But it’s his latest role, as a detention
facility chaplain for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA at the Krome Service Processing Center in Miami, that’s perhaps his greatest challenge. Read More >>>
JRS chaplains serve detained families at new site (Washington, D.C.) July 17, 2014 — On June 20, the Department of Homeland Security announced they would open a temporary facility to detain undocumented immigrant families in Artesia, New Mexico. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has been asked to provide chaplains to help meet the spiritual needs of these families in detention. Read More >>>
Video: serving people in Federal detention centers (Washington, D.C.) February 6, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provides direct service via the Detention Chaplaincy Program. The JRS/USA chaplaincy programs provide pastoral and religious assistance to meet the needs of men and women held in three Federal detention centers. Read More >>>
Online resource for detention center chaplains (Washington, D.C.) October 5, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes that ensuring detainee access to a Religious Service Program is crucially important because detainees have a fundamental right to freedom and exercise of religion. To further that aspect of our mission, we have compiled a Religious Service Program Guide to assist chaplains at detention centers throughout the United States. Read More >>>
Detention center chaplains train in L.A. (Washington, D.C.) September 20, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA offered training to six chaplains from detention centers across the United States during a three-day meeting in Los Angeles last month. JRS/USA based the training on knowledge gained via our long years of service to detainees in our Detention Chaplaincy Program. Read More >>>
Jesuit Refugee Service ministers to detainees (Washington, D.C.) — "We make sure men and women who are detained have access to the solace of their God, in whatever religious tradition they come from," says Fr. Gavin, noting that JRS ministers to Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and other detainees. Read More >>>
Inside a Federal Detention Center (Florence, Arizona) — Three hundred men dressed in yellow, orange and blue prison jumpsuits had gathered under the shade of the open air sports facility in the confines of this detention center not far from the Mexican border. Read More >>>