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 in 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, numerous pads of easel paper, and a mountain of prayer, Transforming Jail Ministries was born.

Logo from 2007-2019.

Logo from 2007-2019.


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.


Current logo adopted in 2019.

Current logo adopted in 2019.

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.

It’s a 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: 

  • Excellence

  • Respectful relationships at all levels

  • Helpful interfaith ministry

  • Telling the truth to ourselves and others

  • Integrity, consistency, dependability

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)

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.

Financial Transparency

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 2018 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 2018 Impact Report and Measures can be found here.