Christian Jail Ministry (CJM) strives to meet the spiritual, personal and social needs of inmates, former inmates, their families, correctional staff and those ministering to prisoners through a Christ-centered, faith-based commitment.
Since 1979, CJM has worked to transform the lives of the jail population in Howard County (Maryland). CJM provides worship services, English and Spanish Bible classes, Celebrate Recovery ( twelve step program based around the Beatitudes that changes people from the inside out), one-on-one discipleship training, pastoral counseling, Spoken Word, Christian literature, Bible correspondence courses, classes on Domestic Violence and Shape (the work God Shaped you to do). We also offer tutoring for those who can not read.
CJM’s programs are staffed by a full-time lead chaplain, two associate chaplains (a pastor and a former pastor), and 200 to 300 volunteers from area churches. A couple of dozen area churches provide people, services, and/or financial support for CJM’s ministry. About half of those incarcerated at HCDC were Howard County residents when arrested, and most of the 3,500 inmates who pass through HCDC in a year return to the community.
CJM also provides Christmas assistance for the children of inmates at HCDC and encourages inmate families and former inmates to become involved in local churches.
The CJM ministry is overseen by a Board composed of local pastors, correctional officials, CJM volunteers and local business leaders. CJM is financed by donations from individuals (30-40%), churches (more than 50%), civic and community groups and businesses. These contributions fund CJM chaplains, provide Bibles and the literature needed for religious programs at HCDC, and emergency assistance for former inmates and inmate families.
The current annual budget for CJM is $100,000, but twice that amount is needed to fully support the ministry needs of the inmate community served by CJM.
The CJM philosophy of ministry can be found in Hebrews l3:3: Christians should be as concerned for prisoners as if they were prisoners themselves. And, Mathew2 5:31-46: Ministry to prisoners can be ministry to Christ Himself.
To participate in Christian Jail Ministry programs: you can call CJM at 410-997-0253, or write CJM, P.O. Box 6037, Columbia, MD 21045, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The effectiveness of CJM is noted by Jack Kavanagh, Director of Howard County’s Department of Corrections. “The valuable services provided to our inmate population by the many CJM volunteers not only assists our inmate population while they are incarcerated; but also as they become reintegrated upon release into society. The volunteers are role models for those who seek to become more responsible citizens. Many former inmates have told us over the years how much they have benefited from the partnership between the Detention Center and Christ Jail Ministry.”