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Procedure Properties

Title: Religious Visitors
Category: Offender Management
Version: 06
Implement Date: 12 September 2012
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public

Authority

Appendices and Forms

Procedures

Local Procedures

Policies

  • Code of Conduct
  • Grievance Resolution (in-confidence)
  • Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)

Procedure - Religious Visitors


Purpose
1.General
2.State Chaplaincy Board and Queensland Murri Chaplaincy
3.Appointment of Religious Visitors
3.1Role of the Chaplain
3.2Indigenous Chaplain
3.3Role of the Assistant Chaplain
3.4Process for appointment of Chaplains, Indigenous Chaplains and Assistant Chaplains
3.5Chaplaincy Team
3.6Specialist Religious Visitors
3.7Personal Religious Visitors
3.8Process for approval as a Personal Religious Visitor
4.Conduct of Religious Visitors
4.1Conflicts of interest
4.2Security issues
4.3Harm
4.4Communication
4.5Offender files
4.6Programs delivered by Religious Visitors
5.Access within corrective services facilities
5.1Maximum Security Unit
5.2Safety Unit
5.3Accommodation unit common areas
5.4Princess Alexandria Secure Unit (PAHSU)
5.5Access to other corrective services facilities
5.6Access to minister to a dangerously ill/seriously injured offender
5.7Access after a death in custody
5.8Access to officiate a marriage
5.9Wine
5.10Religious materials
6.Access to prisoners transferred or released from a facility
6.1Post Release contact with released prisoners
6.2Transfer of prisoners to other corrective services facilities
6.3Community supervision
7.Disciplinary matters
8.Provision of chaplaincy services to QCS staff

Purpose

To ensure that the interface between the operations of corrective services facilities and the work of religious visitors, in pastoral care and spiritual formation, is effective and supportive of offender rehabilitation.

Definition

A religious visitor is defined by the Corrective Services Act 2006 as a person who visits a prison to provide religious services or instruction for prisoners.

1. General

A prisoner must be given the opportunity to access religious services and to practice his/her religious beliefs within the operational constraints of a corrective services facility. If consistent with the operational requirements of the facility, a prisoner may join with other persons in practicing the offender's religion and possess articles approved by the General Manager necessary for the practice of the religion (refer procedure - Property of Offenders).

2. State Chaplaincy Board and Queensland Murri Chaplaincy

Queensland Corrective Services funds the State Chaplaincy Board (the Board) and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy to co-ordinate State-wide chaplaincy services and to provide assistance with the administration of personal religious visits (refer to section 3 for definitions).

The Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy provide policies and procedures for the conduct of Chaplains, ensure rosters of Chaplains are in place to service each facility, coordinates the approval and training of religious visitors to QCS facilities, provide advice to the Agency on matters related to religious services and address any matters of concern.

Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) has service level agreements with the State Chaplaincy Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy. The State Chaplaincy Board is made up of nominated leaders of six religious groups. The sponsoring religious organisations are the Salvation Army, Uniting Church, Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Prison Fellowship and Inside Out Chaplaincy. The Board may invite representatives from other religious organisations to participate in meetings in order to provide input in relation to prisoners of that faith.

A register of members of the Board is to be maintained and provided to the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management by the Board. The register must include the following details for each board member-

  1. name and contact details;
  2. religious organisation;
  3. position held on the Board; and
  4. date of commencement as a Board member.

The Board must notify the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management (Specialist Operations) of any changes in membership.

Regular meetings between Specialist Operations, State-wide Operations, the Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy Board will occur to ensure adherence to the existing service level agreements and to ensure communications of a high standard are maintained.

3. Appointment of Religious Visitors

A Religious Visitor may be appointed to a corrective services facility as a -

  1. Chaplain or Indigenous Chaplain - The role of the Chaplain is to serve the spiritual needs of prisoners by, for example, conducting religious services at a corrective services facility. Indigenous Chaplains assist Indigenous prisoners to maintain contact with their communities and provide spiritual guidance;
  2. Assistant Chaplain -An Assistant Chaplain accompanies a Chaplain for the purpose of a specific task, for example, conducting group worship or providing religious instruction;
  3. Specialist Religious Visitor - A Specialist Religious Visitor from religious organisations not represented on the State Chaplaincy Board may be approved where there are prisoners practising that particular faith. Conditions of access for a Specialist Religious Visitor are at the discretion of the General Manager; or
  4. Personal Religious Visitor -A Personal Religious Visitor may provide spiritual support to a prisoner at the request of the prisoner however is not a member of the Chaplaincy Team. Personal Religious Visitors typically conduct their visits through the visits centre.

3.1 Role of the Chaplain

The role of Chaplain is to serve the spiritual needs of all prisoners regardless of denomination. A Chaplain does not proselytise, but provides pastoral care to all prisoners that request support.

A Chaplain may be provided with a QCS ID Card and may enter and minister to prisoners within a facility subject to operational constraints as determined by a facility's General Manager.

3.2 Indigenous Chaplain

The role of an Indigenous Chaplain is to assist Indigenous prisoners to maintain contact with their communities and provide spiritual guidance.

Indigenous chaplains are nominated by the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy or the Board

and issued with a letter of appointment by the Executive Director, Specialist Operations.

Indigenous Chaplains may be provided with QCS ID Cards.

3.3 Role of the Assistant Chaplain

An Assistant Chaplain works with a Chaplain for the purpose of a specific task, for example, conducting group worship or providing religious instruction. An Assistant Chaplain must be accompanied by a Chaplain within a centre at all times.

3.4 Process for appointment of Chaplains, Indigenous Chaplains and Assistant Chaplains

The Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management appoints Chaplains and works with the Board who are responsible for identifying and coordinating nominations for appointment as a Chaplain. The Director ensures the return of all required paperwork authorising appointment and on-going security clearances to inform the delegate's decision making.

The Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy determine the appropriate level of Chaplains to be approved at a site, and aim to ensure representation between religious groups is appropriate.

A Chaplain is nominated by the Board or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy. Applications are considered after a security clearance has been undertaken.

Candidates must meet the requirements set down for a Chaplain and must complete training provided by QCS, the Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy.

Assistant Chaplains are nominated by the individual's religious organisation and endorsed by the Chaplaincy Team (refer 3.1) upon receipt of a security clearance and approval of the facility's General Manager.

3.5 Chaplaincy Team

Appointed Chaplains form a facility's Chaplaincy Team, which is coordinated by a nominated member of the team.

The Chaplaincy Team in each centre is responsible for the planning, coordination and administration of chaplaincy services at the facility in consultation with QCS, the Board and/or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy.

It is the role of the Chaplaincy Team to manage the number of Chaplains at a facility on a daily basis and to identify when there are insufficient Chaplains assigned to a facility.

The Chaplaincy Team at a facility must prepare a chaplaincy roster having regard to the pastoral and spiritual needs of all offenders at the facility. The roster is to be developed in consultation with the General Manager or Deputy General Manager of the facility and the approval of the Board.

The Chaplaincy Team should meet with centre management on a monthly basis to ensure appropriate communication occurs and issues are proactively discussed and addressed.

3.6 Specialist Religious Visitors

If a facility has a particularly large prisoner population aligned with a faith not represented on the Chaplaincy Team roster, consideration will be given to the appointment of Specialist Religious Visitors sponsored by that religious organisation.

Applications for Specialist Religious Visitors will be reviewed by the Board and a recommendation made to QCS through the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management. The Director will approve applications in consultation with a facility's General Manager.

Conditions of access for a Specialist Religious Visitor are at the discretion of the General Manager.

3.7 Personal Religious Visitors

Refer procedure - Personal Visitors to Offenders

If a prisoner wishes to receive a religious visit from a representative of his/her own religious group who is not an approved Chaplain, the prisoner must make a request for a Personal Religious Visit to the General Manager of the centre.

Typically visits will occur in the facility's visits area. A General Manager may approve a group meeting where a number of offenders request it. As with Chaplains, Personal Religious Visitors do not proselytise to the broader population.

3.8 Process for approval as a Personal Religious Visitor

The General Manager of a facility is the delegate for approving Personal Religious Visitors.

Before determining whether to approve a personal religious visit the General Manager should seek advice from the Board about the representative's status within their religious organisation/denomination.

The Chaplaincy Team is not responsible for the approval, co-ordination, or recording of personal religious visitor requests and visits to a facility.

The authorised delegate (refer Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)) will-

  1. approve or not approve the visit;
  2. determine the timing, location and nature of the visit; and
  3. notify the applicant of the success or otherwise of the application.

A visit by a Personal Religious Visitor is not considered in lieu of a personal visit, however the General Manager may limit the frequency of visits. The General Manager will determine an appropriate location for the personal religious visit to occur in private.

A Personal Religious Visitor must seek approval from the General Manager of a facility to bring religious literature or materials into a facility for the purposes of a personal religious visit.

4. Conduct of Religious Visitors

The agreements between funded service providers and QCS are developed to comply with current legislation, policies, procedures and QCS operations which outline the terms in which the services are provided and behaviour expected of the providers.

All Chaplains, Indigenous Chaplains and Assistant Chaplains must adhere to the QCS Code of Conduct, the Corrective Services Act 2006 and other guidelines

Specialist Religious Visitors and Personal Religious Visitors must adhere to relevant legislation, policy and procedure.

To provide guidance to Chaplaincy Teams in facilities, the Board and the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy are required to produce and maintain a Handbook for Chaplains which is consistent with the Corrective Services Act (2006) and QCS policies and procedures. The handbook must be approved by the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management who must ensure its compliance with legislation, QCS policy and procedures and the service level agreement.

All other administration matters and issues such as confidentiality, induction and training of Chaplains must occur in accordance with procedure - External Non-Government Service Providers.

All Chaplains must provide evidence they have completed the Custodial Awareness training course before approval will be provided for a QCS ID card.

4.1 Conflicts of interest

Chaplains are required to disclose any conflict of interest that may impact on their ability to undertake chaplaincy services. This may include, but is not limited to, situations where a prisoner has requested that the Chaplain sponsor them or provide accommodation to them after release, where a Chaplain's family member may be incarcerated, or where the Chaplain takes up employment within the correctional centre. Such potential conflicts of interest should be reported to the Board immediately for advice.

4.2 Security issues

A Religious Visitor must not take any prohibited or unauthorised articles into a corrective services facility. Refer CSR s 20; appendix - Prohibited Things; procedure - Visitors to a Facility (Excluding Personal Visitors).

4.3 Harm

If a Religious Visitor suspects that a prisoner may be at risk of self harm, or may pose a risk of harm to others or to the safety and security of the facility, they must immediately advise facility staff.

4.4 Communication

All prisoner communication to outside persons is strictly monitored for security and surveillance reasons by the facility staff. Chaplains must not facilitate communication between a prisoner and any other person within or outside the corrective services facility. Communication includes use by a prisoner of a telephone to a landline or mobile connection or email facilities within the facility to an external party.

Under no circumstance should a Religious Visitor take anything from a corrective services facility, particularly an item given to them by an offender, including personal letters or other documents.

4.5 Offender files

Under no circumstance should a religious visitor review a prisoner's file or medical file. Religious Visitors are encouraged to speak to facility staff if they are unclear of an issue which is causing concern or distress to an offender.

4.6 Programs delivered by Religious Visitors

A Religious Visitor must not be involved in the delivery of rehabilitation programs at the correctional facility to which they are appointed without the prior approval of the Board, the General Manager of the facility, and the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management.

Proposed programs for prisoners of a religious nature should be referred to Offender Rehabilitation and Management branch through the Manager, Offender Development (or equivalent).

5. Access within corrective services facilities

5.1 Maximum Security Unit

A Religious Visitor must seek centre management team approval in order to visit a prisoner accommodated in a Maximum Security Unit. Refer procedure - Maximum Security Units (in-confidence)

5.2 Safety Unit

Given the therapeutic nature of a Safety Unit, a Religious Visitor must speak with management staff at the facility prior to visiting an offender accommodated in a Safety Unit to ensure personal safety and that the therapeutic approach is not compromised through external involvement.

5.3 Accommodation unit common areas

A Chaplain must be given reasonable access to unit common areas within operational constraints. When in a unit common area, a Chaplain must be able to be observed by a corrective services officer at all times. It is not necessary for an officer to be in the unit common area with the Chaplain if the Chaplain is able to be observed by an officer. Assistant Chaplains are not permitted access to accommodation areas unless in the company of a Chaplain. A Specialist or Personal Religious Visitor may only access the designated areas approved by the General Manager of the facility.

5.4 Princess Alexandria Secure Unit (PAHSU)

The pastoral care of offenders admitted as inpatients to the PAHSU is the responsibility of the PAHSU Medical Director. This may involve the provision of pastoral and spiritual care by the Princess Alexandra Hospital Pastoral Care Service or by a Chaplain appointed by the Board or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy.

5.5 Access to other corrective services facilities

If a Chaplain wishes to visit a facility to which he/she is not appointed to conduct, for example, a service, celebration or marriage, the Chaplaincy Team at the Chaplain's appointed facility will approach the General Manager at the facility to be visited to make the necessary arrangements.

5.6 Access to minister to a dangerously ill/seriously injured offender

Refer CSA s 23

The General Manager will notify the Chaplaincy Team of any prisoner who is seriously ill and requests a visit from a minister/ religious person of his/her particular faith as soon as possible. The Coordinating Chaplain should advise the General Manager or nominated manager of Chaplains to be contacted should staff become aware of a prisoner who is dangerously ill or whose death may be imminent.

5.7 Access after a death in custody

Refer CSA s 24; procedure - Death in Custody

Chaplains should ensure that they have provided emergency contact details to the General Manager or a nominated manager at the facility to which they are appointed to allow support services to be provided at a facility after a death in custody.

5.8 Access to officiate a marriage

Refer CSA s 26; procedure - Offender Marriages

If a prisoner wishes to marry, a request to the General Manager by the prisoner is required prior.

5.9 Wine

A Chaplain may request that a General Manager procure a quantity of alcoholic wine (no more than 750 mL) for the purpose of conducting religious services at a corrective services facility. This wine must be securely stored at the facility as determined by the General Manager.

Access to the secure store of wine will be granted by the General Manager to approved Chaplains for the purpose of conducting religious services. After consultation with the Chaplain, the General Manager must determine the quantity of wine released to conduct the religious service. The wine may be given to prisoners to consume as part of the religious service. Refer CSA s 128(2) (a), CSR s 20(k).

The General Manager must develop a process that identifies how Chaplains are to access wine for the purpose of conducting religious services, including services conducted on weekends.

5.10 Religious materials

The Board provides a list of approved religious magazines, periodicals and other printed materials for dissemination in correctional facilities. This list can be obtained from Offender Rehabilitation and Management.

For facilities where sexual offenders are located, the General Manager of a facility should ensure that any approved magazines are checked prior to being made available to prisoners to ensure there is no inappropriate imagery as outlined the Prisoner Restrictions - Publications, Films, Electronic Game Consoles/Computer Games and CD's Standard Operating Procedure.

6. Access to prisoners transferred or released from a facility

6.1 Post Release contact with released prisoners

A Chaplain wishing to maintain a pastoral relationship with a released prisoner must be mindful of any potential conflict of interest.

It is considered inappropriate for a Chaplain to be nominated as the sponsor for a prisoner applying for parole and such a situation may result in review of the Chaplain's appointment. It is recommended that advice be sought from the Board by the Chaplain and/or QCS prior to QCS endorsing a Chaplain as a sponsor to ensure no conflicts of interest with their chaplaincy role will occur.

6.2 Transfer of prisoners to other corrective services facilities

If a prisoner is transferred to another corrective services facility, a referral to a Chaplain in the receiving facility will be made. A Chaplain must not attempt to gain access to a corrective services facility for the purpose of continuation of pastoral care for an individual prisoner.

A Chaplain may seek approval to visit a prisoner who has been transferred to another corrective services facility as a Personal Religious Visitor or as a personal visitor. Refer procedure - Personal Visitors to Offenders

6.3 Community supervision

Under the terms of the service level agreement with the Board and Queensland Murri Chaplaincy, chaplaincy services are only provided to prisoners in corrective services facilities. The Board and Queensland Murri Chaplaincy are not funded to continue such services for a prisoner once he/she is released to community supervision.

7. Disciplinary matters

As per section four, where the professional conduct or behaviour of a funded service provider is in contravention of the conditions of the Service Level Agreement or letter of appointment which include reference to the QCS Code of Conduct, Corrective Services Act 2006, the Handbook for Chaplain or the State Chaplaincy Board Code of Ethics 2004, attempts are to be made to address the issue at the local level in the first instance, through discussion with-

  1. management staff at the facility;
  2. the Chaplain concerned; and
  3. if necessary, the Coordinating Chaplain.

Should local resolution not be possible or appropriate, a formal complaint is to be made to the General Manager. The General Manager may-

  1. have the Chaplain removed from the facility; and/or
  2. temporarily prohibit the Chaplain's access to the facility.

The Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management must be immediately advised of any such action by the General Manager or a nominated centre staff member. The Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management must contact the Board and provide the Chair of the Board and/or Queensland Murri Chaplaincy with all relevant information and documentation in relation to the complaint. The Chair of the Board or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy will notify the appropriate sponsoring agency of the complaint.

Following such notification, the sponsoring agency may seek further clarification from QCS and the Board, and may request meetings with the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management and the General Manager as appropriate.

The sponsoring agency will then review the issue with the Chaplain by either-

  1. negotiating acceptable terms and conditions with the Director, Offender Rehabilitation and Management and/or the General Manager to facilitate the re-instatement of the Chaplain; or
  2. withdrawing the Chaplain's nomination from the Board and/or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy.

It is expected that the sponsoring agency would involve both the Board and/or the Queensland Murri Chaplaincy and officers of QCS where necessary in making its final determination.

8. Provision of chaplaincy services to QCS staff

Chaplains are not appointed for the provision of counselling services to staff. Staff affected by workplace incidents or matters of a personal nature can seek the services of the Agency's employee assistance service.

Chaplains come into contact with staff on a regular basis and may hear of issues that are of concern. A Chaplain should encourage staff to seek the services of Agency's employee assistance service; however, caring and confidential listening may be appropriate.

If staff members raise an issue of workplace grievance, a Chaplain must encourage them to follow the Agency grievance resolution procedure.

If a Chaplain becomes involved in staff matters, either inadvertently or at the request of the staff member they should seek the involvement of centre management, or encourage the staff member to approach his/her supervisor/manager. Additionally, if the matter is of a personal nature, staff should be encouraged to access community resources.





MARLENE MORISON
Commissioner





Version History

12/09/2012 Version 06 - 30/03/2009 Version 05 - 23/09/2008 Version 04 - 20/08/2007 Version 03 - 17/07/2007 Version 02 - 01/03/2007 Version 01