"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me."
- Matthew 25:35-36 (CSB)
"I was in prison and you visited me"
When you are incarcerated, there are few options and many moments of indecision and confusion. Transforming Jail Ministries provides chaplains to counter those moments. At each jail facility in Hamilton County, trained chaplains spend time in conversation, in prayer and in reflection with the incarcerated men and women. Their fundamental role is to be available; their fundamental task is to respond to the incarcerated men and women who have requested to see a chaplain.
Currently, there are more than thirty TJM chaplains in Cincinnati, each assigned to a jail facility in Hamilton County. Each chaplain is available to those incarcerated, regardless of denomination, church affiliations or belief history. Our chaplains are trained to be present and meet people wherever they are in their personal journey, spiritual or otherwise.
What our chaplains do:
Pray with and for those in jail, as well as their families
Respond to requests to meet with the incarcerated men and women
Alert administration of any individual safety or perceived psychological concerns
What our chaplains do NOT do:
Administer legal advice
Enter into any financial relationships with those in jail
Commiserate about crimes, discuss cases or blame the system
Make phone calls to attorneys or families on behalf of the incarcerated population
Discuss the content of any conversation with other chaplains, families or jail staff (unless a security concern exists)
To become a candidate for a TJM chaplain, interested individuals must complete an application form and complete at 13-week training course. Eligible candidates are at least 21 years of age and must be able to pass a criminal background check.
To see a list of the current Transforming Jail Ministries chaplains, click here.
To view the personal and safety conduct guidelines, click here.
How to become a chaplain with tjm
Submit a volunteer application. This is simply an immediate data gathering measure required for all volunteers.
Complete and submit a Request for Security Clearance (this is a background check executed by the Hamilton Co. Sheriff's Department). All chaplains must be able to pass this background check in order to serve.
Note: Background checks must be resubmitted every two years. Please resubmit your background check two-to-three months before expiration.
Applicants will receive a letter eight to ten weeks before the start of training with information about fees, class size, and curriculum. Training fees can be sent by check or online through PayPal (if you pay through PayPal, contact us immediately so we know this is not a donation).
Candidates must successfully complete the class in its entirety. After completion, all trainees receive a certificate from Transforming Jail Ministries indicating they have successfully met all requirements.
Note: Completion of steps 1-4 is good for up to two years. After two years, if you have not been offered a position as a chaplain, you will need to retake the course to be eligible for future consideration. This is due to the fluid nature of rules and regulations within correctional facilities.
All successful trainees are considered for TJM chaplaincy openings. Once the application and training are complete, potential chaplains are invited to an interview conducted by TJM's CEO, a Board member, a current/former AJC team member and someone who has worked in the criminal justice system.
Note: Applicants who complete the course are not guaranteed a position as a chaplain. These positions are limited based on capacity and need.
Following the interview, a decision is made whether or not to invite the candidate to become a TJM chaplain. This decision is dynamic and based on the following:
Current needs of the ministry;
Faithfulness and effectiveness of candidate; and
Ministry balance of race, gender, theological slant and/or style.
All chaplains are expected to maintain current knowledge of our Adult Jail Chaplaincy Personal Conduct and Guidelines policies. Beginning in 2019, all chaplains will be required to sign this document every two years along with their background checks.