History, Mission, and Vision
Since the late 1970s, Hamilton County, Ohio jail and treatment facilities have been served by volunteer chaplains. In 2007, a group of chaplains--led by Reverend Jack Marsh--gathered in prayer to discern how they could add to the success of jail ministry, both locally and other places. Part of their discernment centered on how to create an enhanced model for jail ministry that was effective, measurable and replicable. After months of meetings, myriad pads of easel paper and a mountain of prayer, Transforming Jail Ministries was born.
We have one overriding mission at Transforming Jail Ministries: to take God's message of hope to those in jail. There are many ways to define that. Many ways to measure that. Many ways to deliver on that.
At TJM, we create a framework that defines and measures and delivers our mission one man or woman at a time. When people's lives are touched, so too is the community in which they live. In doing what we do at TJM, we rely on the wisdom of the great servants who have come before us.
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."
— Colossians 1:21-23 (ESV)
Today, over 2 million people in the United States are incarcerated in either jail or prison. That is one out of every 100 persons. Whether or not the right amount of people are incarcerated, for the right reasons, for the right length of time is debatable. Whether or not we should try to be part of what changes those statistics is not.
We know that God's timing is perfect. He meets us where we are and provides us with everything we need, exactly when we need it. At TJM, we try to follow God's lead by being present, planting seeds and fully expecting that it's the small things, delivered with great love that will make the difference.
It's not always popular when we show compassion and understanding to those who have hurt others, broken the community's trust, thumbed their nose at the rules and mores the larger society has set forth.
Good thing we're not interested in being popular.
Jesus' message was clear: We're all sinners. God loves us anyway. We hold a vision of jail as a place of change that is positive, profound, pervasive and permanent.
The values that support our vision and mission are a commitment to:
- Respectful relationships at all levels
- Helpful interfaith ministry
- Telling the truth to ourselves and others
- Integrity, consistency, dependability
Accountability, Partners, and Measures
We are proud to be supported by local churches, individuals, the Hamilton Co. Sheriff's Department. and businesses. At the end of each year we release the names of our financial partners who have helped advance our mission to take God's message of hope to those in jail. We want our volunteers to know who helped provide them with access to the facilities we serve. This also helps current and potential contributors to see that we gained the respect and support of some of our community's best known churches and leaders. For a full list of our 2016 financial partners, click here.
We believe stewardship is not just expected, but a biblical mandate. In fact, Paul writes, "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of themysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful," (1 Cor. 3:1-2 ESV). TJM is both a nonprofit and a ministry. We depend on financial contributions from our community in order to survive.
All of our Board Members are volunteers and we operate with a small two-person staff, our Office Manager (Marjeane) and our Director & CEO (Stuart). Our paid employees are not getting rich with your donations, but instead of simply telling you that we want to be able to show you.
At this time, a large portion of our budget goes toward payroll because our services are provided by more than 550 volunteers (400+ worship team members, 30 chaplains, and 120+ clergy) who are supported and trained by our paid staff. Our employees are paid to ensure that volunteers have access to local facilities within Hamilton County and receive adequate training as mandated by federal, state, and local laws. As a result, we are able to reduce the burden on tax payers while simultaneously supporting local churches and faith communities wishing to do jail ministry.
Click here to view our 2017 990-EZ.
Measuring success in ministry is a difficult task at the least. It is possible to count professions of faith, baptisms, attendance, and many other things, but from a theological perspective it seems counterpoint. While numbers cannot understand matters of the heart among those we serve, they can give you an idea as to how much reach we have as a ministry. We will continuously evaluate and reassess the measures used, but we will always strive to provide meaningful measures. Our 2017 Impact Report and Measures can be found here.
Who We Serve and Where
At the base, our focus is on those individuals in jail--whether someone is incarcerated for a day or a year. What we know, however, is that what we do doesn't happen in a vacuum. TJM is committed to serve whomever God places in our path along the way.
Our commitment is this:
We transform the very culture of the jail through our presence.
We transform individual lives through our availability.
We transform the quality of jail ministry through training, relationships and prayer.
Who We Serve
In working toward those goals, we are available to spend time with families as they move in and out of the correctional facilities. We share in their prayers and answer any questions we can.
In serving the various facilities, we spend time with corrections officers. The work they do brings its own unique set of challenges and we avail ourselves to any security staff who seeks a listening ear.
In determining how to best function as an organization, we spend time with jail staff/administration. Our job descriptions may be different, but it all works best when we exploit our strengths.
In gathering information about other ministries and providing training, we serve the larger community, because issues of incarceration touch us all. As we do what we do at TJM, the circle widens and transformation takes place. All because of people. All with God's grace.
The Hamilton County Justice Center
Located on Sycamore Street between 9th St. and Central Parkway, this is the largest and most secure jail facility operated by Hamilton County. In fact, the Justice Center is one of the 25-largest county jails in the nation. It consists of two five-story buildings connected by a walkway at the second floor level. Anyone who is arrested in Hamilton County is first taken to this location to await ajudication or release. The Justice Center houses both men and women and averages 1,500+ residents daily.
1617 Reading Road
Talbert House provides the treatment at this facility, with sheriff's officers providing security. Women are housed on the first and second floors. Men in extended treatment are housed on the third floor. This location is across the street and just slightly north of the Staples store on Reading Road. This building is marked only by a small sign with the address on it and a few Sheriff's vehicles around the building.
Turning Point at Woodburn Avenue
This facility currently houses the Talbert House Turning Point program. It is considered an incarceration facility and is for men only. This chemical dependency community corrections program provides assessment, treatment, and reintegration services in a residential setting for adult men convicted of a second or multiple DUI or alcohol and drug offenses. Services include orientation, assessment, educational sessions, individual, group and family counseling, a six-month Continuing Care Program, and other supportive activities.
The Pathways Program
Pathways is a Talbert House treatment program for women with substance abuse problems. It has served the community for more than two decades by providing assessment, treatment, and transition for adult females with felonies and misdemeanors and is located at 1616 Harrison Ave.
The Adapt Program for Men and Women
These are Talbert House residential treatment programs for men and women with substance abuse problems, located in the old Rollmans Hospital at 3009 Burnet Avenue. The residential program is followed by aftercare services.
Talbert House at 3129 Spring Grove Avenue
This facility is a Talbert House work release program for men leaving jail or prison. It is a a community corrections program that provides assessment, treatment, and reintegration for adult men in a residential setting.
River City Correctional Center
River City is a community-based corrections facility. The emphasis in this facility is on treatment and accountability and uses cognitive-behavioral treatment as the primary method of intervention. Located on the old Work House site at 3220 Colerain Avenue, there are four units (three for men and one for women) of 54 people (or less) on each unit.
Statement of Faith
In 2018, Transforming Jail Ministries adopted a statement of faith of which all Board Members and employees are required to agree. We value diversity and promote religious freedom for all, thus this statement is not mandatory to be held by volunteer worship teams, chaplains, or clergy wishing to visit inmates and residents in the facilities we serve in Hamilton County. However, we do believe it is of utmost importance, for the purpose of unity, that our employees and Board Members be on the same page.
All Board Members and Paid Staff Must Confess the Following:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Statement of Faith. (n.d.). Statement of Faith. Retrieved from the Correctional Ministries and
Chaplains Association. To learn more, click here.