The Inmate Services / Chaplaincy Division is tasked with administering all programs to inmates including religious programming, law libraries, recreational libraries, educational programming and recreational programming. This includes the procurement of TV’s for housing units, recreational equipment for all jail facilities, barber equipment, etc.
What religious denominations are ministered to in the jail?
Inmates in the Tarrant County Jail have a wide variety of religious faiths and denominations. We recognize everyone’s right to religious freedom and every effort is made to ensure the exercise of that right within the confines of penalogical and security protocols.
What do you mean by “confines of penalogical and security protocols?
There are practices and instruments used by some religions that could represent a challenge to the safety and security of other inmates and jail staff. Examples would be the use of fire, sharp and/or pointed instruments, alcohol, hallucinogenic agents, or other drugs / chemicals, etc. For instance, Communion can be by host only. Wine cannot be used.
Are services held in the jail for the different faiths?
Yes. Services are held by a wide variety of religious faiths within the jail. Any bona-fide group may make application to provide services/classes.
What does “bona-fide” mean? Does my group have to be part of some national group in order to provide services to inmates?
The church or faith group must have some form of charter, or affiliation with a recognized governing body. Ministers, pastors, priests, etc., must have some form of universally, generally recognized credentials?
Can I have visits from the minister of my choice?
Yes. Every attempt will be made to honor an inmate’s request that their regular minister visit with them in the jail. These visits will be “non-contact” visits. In a “non-contact” visit the inmate and the minister are separated by some form of a partition, or barrier, which prohibits actual physical contact.
In the Tarrant County Jail non-contacts visits are in the visitors booth. There is not a set number of times a member of the Clergy may visit an inmate, however these visits are limited to 30-minutes in duration.
If someone else wants to accompany the minister during a visit, that person must be listed on the inmate’s visitation card. These visits will count against the inmate’s maximum number of visits per week.
The minister must be on the “Visiting Minister List” maintained by the Chaplain’s Office. Call (817) 884-3088 for additional information.
What does an inmate do when they feel in need of spiritual counseling?
Individual religious counseling is available to any inmate by request through the Inmate Services Office, or by personally contacting a volunteer Chaplain when they are in the inmate’s housing unit.
What is the difference between a “Visiting Minister” and a “Volunteer Chaplain”?
Visiting ministers are not cleared for entrance into the secure areas of the jail, thus the non-contact visits.
Volunteer Chaplains have had a background check, orientation, and have specific assignment from Inmate Services and Chaplaincy Office.
How can one get a bible or other religious materials to an inmate?
Religious material can be brought or sent to the Chaplain/Director of Inmate Services Office. After review and clearance, they will be delivered to the inmate.
Volunteer Chaplains ministering to inmates may bring religious materials to inmates. Any materials they use must be cleared by the Chaplain/Director of Inmate Services.
Families, friends, etc. must bring those items to this Inmate Services and Chaplaincy Office. After review and clearance they will be given to the inmate. If not cleared they will be placed in the inmates property. Hardcover publications are not acceptable.
Families, friends, etc., may subscribe and pay for religious subscriptions for the inmate. The publisher must mail the subscriptions to the inmate by name and CID number.
How many pastors / ministers are on the staff of the jail?
There are currently 218 volunteer ministers of various faith and denominations that minister within the jails.
My church group wants to minister to inmates, how do I arrange that?
You will have to contact the Inmate Services and Chaplaincy Office with a proposed program or class, and go through the security clearance procedures.
I am not a minister or pastor, can I be a Volunteer Chaplain?
Anyone can make application to be involved as a religious / inmate service volunteer by contacting the Chaplain’s Office at (817) 884-3088
Can an inmate be married while in the Tarrant County Jail?
No. Proxy marriages are not performed in the Tarrant County jail.
How can important message concerning serious injury, illness or death be passed to an inmate?
Notification of serious injury, illness or death must be made through the Inmate Services / Chaplaincy Office. The information will be verified by this office and notification will be made by a chaplain.
Are baptisms, confirmations, or religious conversions done in the jail?
All religious rites are looked at on a case-by-case basis and will be allowed or denied based upon penalogical and security protocols.
Do you have any Chaplaincy programs for sex offenders?
There are no specific programs regarding sex offenders at this time.
What educational programs are offered to inmates?
The Inmate Services and Chaplaincy Division offers inmates many opportunities improve themselves while in custody. Below are some programs that are offered. This is by no means a complete list of available opportunities.
General Educational Development test for High School Equivalence
Adult literacy classes
Assistance in getting in touch with colleges offering correspondence courses
Recreational and gymnasium activities
The Honor Guard is a special unit of the Sheriff's office. It performs ceremonial functions such as marching in parades, presenting colors at various civic events, etc. The Honor Guard also provides honors at the funerals of law enforcement personnel, Sheriff’s Office employees, governmental officials, etc. Contact the Inmate Services/Chaplaincy Division for information about possible Honor Guard appearance at your specific function.