1999-02 Affirms the Right of All Persons to Exercise Thier Freedom of Religion Regardless of Their Present State of Detention

The Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry affirms the rights of incarcerated persons to belong to and participate in religious organizations. They should have reasonable contact with spiritual leaders (ministers, spiritual advisors, counselors) of their choice. Residents detained at any place of incarceration should have opportunities to participate regularly in religious services and observe other required religious practices. They should have opportunity to obtain spiritual reading materials and other non-contraband materials related to religious practices.

We recognize the need of institutions and facilities of incarceration for security and order and the responsibility of the administration to provide such security. We respect the rules of these institutions and facilities.

We, as members of a national movement of jail and prison ministries, urge both administrators of institutions and leaders of religious groups to dialogue to produce solutions that meet the needs of the residents and of the institution. Such cooperation was intended from the beginning of detention facilities in the United States.

Members of the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry are urged to initiate and share in the dialogue as described above, at each and every detention facility within their locality.