“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, January 31, 2011

Texas plans to cut chaplains

Apparently, the State of Texas is cutting funding for chaplains. I received the following (from an email) and posted it here for you to take action should you desire.

Dear Ministry Friends:
Here is the ugly reality facing Texas:

1)The primary budget cutters do not value what Chaplains do. They have cut the entire department. These trained professionals manage the religious programs at each Texas Prison.

2)If they are cut, the program will have to be managed by a correctional officer or a secretary. (They will be pulled from their other duties -- little savings, huh!)

3)Chaplains also provide "Pastoral Care" for everyone in the institution. It is difficult to find a community of 500 people in America which does not have pastoral care. Such care will be very hit and miss without the Chaplaincy Department if it occurs at all.

4)All a Chaplain has to do to recoop his entire yearly salary is influence one prisoner a year to give up his/her criminal activity. The state will pay more on the person's next incarceration than is paid to the chaplain in a year.

5)The very effective Religious Programming which we now have in Texas prisons, does not happen automatically. Religious Volunteers must be recruited and managed. That is the task of our chaplains. Without them, the programming will become very uneven, if it is able to exist at all.

My friend Chaplain Xxxxxxx Yyyyyy reminds us of the importance of this grave matter and how time sensitive it is:

HB 1 has Chaplaincy listed as "zero funded" ... which means if it is not "funded" in House Bill 1 (the Appropriation Bill), and not "funded in Senate Bill 1( the Finance Bill), in a couple of months both the house and senate will appoint from the Senate Finance Committee and from the House Appropriations Committee about 3-4 from each body. They will form the Conference Committee which works out the differences between HB 1 and SB 1. It could be TOO LATE if chaplaincy is not "funded" before the conference committee. The Key is encouraging people (constituents) to get with their Rep and Senator and express how important it is to you and how it is good for Texas to continue the Chaplaincy Department with at least one chaplain at each prison. Say to them: "Don't Let Chaplaincy fail to get Funded on your watch" - "If we lose it here, we may NEVER get it back."

Action Plan:Contact by personal visit, telephone call, letter, fax or email your State Rep and State Senator.
1) The address of your State Representative is: The Honorable (Name), Texas House, P O Box 2910, Austin TX 78768-2910

2) The address of your State Senator is: The Honorable (Name), Texas Senate, P O Box 12068, Austin TX 78711

Also please contact your Statewide Officials:
1) The Honorable Rick Perry, Governor's Office, P O Box 12428, Austin TX 78711 (no email, must contact through his website)

2) The Honorable David Dewhurst, Lt. Governor's Office, P O Box 12068, Austin TX 78711, phone, (512)463-0001, fax (512)936-6700, david.dewhurst@senate.state.tx.us

3) The Honorable Joe Straus, Speaker of the House, P O Box 2910, Austin TX 78768, phone (512)463-1000, fax(512)463-1064 joe.straus@house.state.tx.us

Other people will be contacting the state officials about this issue. In this case "More is Better." We want to stack up communications on the Austin Desks about this issue. If you personally take time to contact these 5 people, you are standing up for our cause!

Do not forget to Pray for guidance as you make contact with those who represent you in State Government!


jennifer b said...

I read this article and found it appauling that the chaplains ar going to be cut from the prisons. Even though the people living in the prison have done many actions to put them there, they still have the right to have council, and to confess their sins. I would say that the chaplains could volunteer their time, but everyone needs to make a living somehow. i think that they should look for other ways to cut the budget, maybe cuting the cable televisions or less workoot equipment.

RMK said...

Budget cuts seem to be popping up all over and when there are budget cuts, the lay-offs are not very far behind them. But who is this really affecting and worse, who is this hurting? By cutting out the Prison Chaplain employment positions, this could potentially become a catalyst for more harm and violence to come. Chaplains identify with people and their faith from all walks of life; Christianity, Rastafarian, Islam, Hindu, Jewish, American Indian and more. It has been proven that when a person is influenced by a religious faith, they are less prone to committing violent and criminal activities. The prison population is increasing faster than the country can provide the means to support them, which is causing an overpopulation within the facilities. Although not all prison inmates are religious based followers, many of them are. More importantly, many of the inmates come to find and know their faith while incarcerated and with help and counseling from the Prison Chaplains to lead them in the right direction. In my opinion, by getting rid of the Chaplains, the prisons are decreasing opportunities for faith, and increasing opportunities for additional instances involving violence and disorder. It’s unfortunate that cutting costs within the budget takes precedence. Which is what it always seems to come down to…money.