US Chesed News

Successful Prison Chaplaincy Conference
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Thursday 5th November 2015

At the end of October 25 Jewish Prison Chaplains participated in the 2015 Prison Chaplaincy Conference.  Jewish Prison Chaplaincy is a part of Jewish Visiting and is co-ordinated by the United Synagogue on behalf of the Jewish Community. It provides chaplains for prisons throughout England and Wales to deliver religious, spiritual and pastoral care to prisoners and advocate on their behalf. Among the group of chaplains who participated was Reverend Catherine Todd, the Managing Chaplain at Leyhill Prison, who was interested in the programme provided and what relevance it might have for her team of chaplains.

The conference had two guest speakers, Philippa Carr, Recovery Education Manager at JAMI (Jewish Mental Health Service) and Suhel Mulla who is the Managing Chaplain of HMP Pentonville. There was also the opportunity for informal conversations between chaplains to discuss areas of mutual interest.

Philippa shared with the group that, “Male prisoners are 14 times more likely to have two or more disorders than men in general, and female prisoners are 35 times more likely than women in general.”  With that information in mind, Philippa spoke about how prisoners’ life stories impact on their mental health and the benefits chaplains can provide for prisoners.”

David Lewis, one of the Jewish prison chaplains, commented:  “I never realised till Philippa spoke, how important a person’s past history is in determining his/her present behaviour, you have helped me a lot in my work.”  

Participants in a group session

The second speaker, Suhel Mulla, spoke about working in a multi- faith chaplaincy team. He emphasised the importance of working in a unified diverse chaplaincy team and gave advice how this could be accomplished.  The conference was wrapped up by a question and answer session from Reverend Binstock, Director of Jewish Prison Chaplaincy, where chaplains could ask questions regarding their own experiences as Prison Chaplains.

For more information on Jewish Prison Chaplaincy click here.