Clergy Contact Visiting

Clergy Contact Visiting Program

The Clergy Contact Visiting Program is designed to assist ordained clergy in their pastoral work inside the jails of Hamilton County, Ohio.  While clergy normally have broader visiting privileges than the general population such visits are non-contact, which means they take place behind glass.  By obtaining credentials within TJM's Clergy Contact Visiting Program, clergy are exempt from the normal restrictions and the following holds true:

  • Visits will take place face-to-face, unobstructed, rather than behind glass and through a telephone.

  • Visits may take place outside the incarcerated person's normal visiting days/hours.

  • Visits do not count against an incarcerated person's one-visit-per-visit-day allowance.

Clergy who are considered ordained within the particular faith group to which they are accountable are eligible for contact visiting privileges through the Clergy Contact Visiting program.  This program allows ordained clergy only to visit any member of their congregation or any incarcerated individual who specifically requests to see them.  It does not allow random access.


Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,

and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

May my teaching drop as the rain,

my speech distill as the dew,

like gentle rain upon the tender grass,

and like showers upon the herb.

For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;

ascribe greatness to our God!

Deuteronomy 32:1-3

Additional Information

  • This program applies only to ordained clergy.

  • The process to receive a Clergy Contact status typically takes six to eight weeks, from application to access. This timeline may change depending on demand and orientation schedules.

  • Training sessions for 2018 will be held on the first Tuesday of every other month from 6:00-8:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. The current list of training dates and sites can be found by visiting TJM's Calendar of Events.

  • If the Sheriff's Department has questions about a person's background or religious affiliation, they may request to interview the person so as to determine whether to permit contact visiting.

  • The Sheriff's Department and/or Transforming Jail Ministries reserves the right to refuse any application or revoke any previously granted clergy ID badge.

  • ID badges must be worn to receive contact visiting

  • Clergy may undergo security checks/searches in order to receive contact visits.

How to Receive Clergy Contact Visiting Credentials

  1. Submit an application to Transforming Jail Ministries.

  2. Submit a copy of your ordination certificate OR minister’s license. This should include your status within a recognized faith group to whom you are accountable (if you are a part of an autonomous/independent community, the name of a committee member, deacon, or elder who holds you accountable will suffice). This can be scanned and emailed to

  3. Successfully complete a Request for Security Clearance (criminal background check) conducted through the Corrections Division of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department. Alternative background checks will not be accepted. This should be submitted in person at our office or by mail. Your background check expires every two years and should be resubmitted two-to-three months before expiration.

  4. Attend an orientation session, designed to assist credentialed clergy as they visit in the jails. See our Calendar of Events for upcoming sessions (these are free and occur on the first Tuesday of every other month, but private orientations can be scheduled at your convenience for a fee). At the end of your orientation you will sign a covenant with TJM. The orientation and covenant must be done every four years.

  5. Once all of the necessary requirements have been met, applicants receive identification that is valid for two years from the date of the last successfully completed criminal background check.

    1. Background checks must be renewed every two years and the orientation must be repeated every four years.

    Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.