top of page

General Operational Guidelines

We discuss two aspects of Christian Jail Ministry CJM operating practices: 1) Basic Governance of CJM (CJM Board, Administrative Structure, and CJM’s Relationship to HCDC), and 2) Long-Held Policies (Chaplain Compensation, Social Assistance, Ministry Prioritization, and Openness).


I. Basic Governance

A.CJM Board: CJM functions under the oversight of its Board. The Board normally meets 2-3 times a year (usually in February to assess the previous year and provide direction for the coming year; normally in October to set the budget for the coming year; in between as needed) with Committees and Task Forces meeting as needed.  The CJM Board is composed of local clergy (from a number of denominations), Howard County Detention Center (HCDC) leadership (ex officio members of the Board), CJM Chaplains (ex officio members of the Board), and CJM volunteers. Link here for identity of current members of the CJM Board.

B. Administrative Structure:  The CJM Lead Chaplain has executive leadership responsibilities for CJM as well as chaplain responsibilities. The CJM Lead Chaplain provides general overall direction for CJM chaplains and all associate and chaplain assistants, as well as for all CJM programs. Particular individuals may be assigned particular areas of responsibility.

C. Relationship to the Howard County Detention Center (HCDC): HCDC recognizes CJM chaplains as chaplains for HCDC and treats them as quasi-members of the HCDC staff. CJM provides HCDC with administrative assistance for religious programs at HCDC, training and orienting volunteers for religious programs and performing initial screening of prospective volunteers for HCDC religious programs. CJM recognizes that HCDC leaders have the final say about all programs at HCDC.

II. Long-held Policies

A. Chaplain Compensation: CJM may employ a chaplain or contract for chaplaincy services from chaplains who are self-employed professionals. Consequently, such contract-services chaplains are not technically CJM employees, and the CJM Board does not attempt to tell them how to conduct the ministry which they are contracted to lead. Compensation offered by CJM is pegged to compensation for pastors in the area for the Lead Chaplain role and to compensation for associate pastors in the area for Chaplains. The basis for this compensation comes from a survey of pastoral/associate pastor compensation every two-three years. In between such surveys, the compensation level is adjusted for inflation. Neither CJM Associate Chaplains nor Chaplain Assistants receive compensation.

B. Social Assistance: CJM is concerned about the whole person, and where appropriate with its capabilities provides social help for inmates, former inmates, and the families of inmates and former inmates. However, CJM as a matter of policy does not intervene in matters between the inmate and the court. No character references are provided, nor are the expectations of CJM chaplains about an inmate’s prospects for the future given to the court or to the inmate’s attorney. If requested by an inmate’s attorney, only factual points for which CJM has records (such as Bible correspondence course lessons, activity participation, etc.) will be provided. CJM social assistance is provided without regard to an inmate’s religious persuasion or participation in CJM programs. For example, toiletries for indigent inmates which CJM provides for HCDC are distributed by the HCDC staff on the basis of need. The Christmas for Inmate Children program is open to children of all inmates, and the same kinds of toys, clothes, and other gifts are provided irrespective of the beliefs and program participation of the inmate.

C. Program Prioritization:  CJM has not had adequate resources to meet all needs of HCDC inmates and their families. CJM gives priority to inside-HCDC programs over After Care because community resources (churches and others) have more opportunities to minister to needs of inmate families and former inmates than they would to HCDC inmates without CJM.

D. Openness: CJM operates openly.  Any interested person is welcome at meetings of the CJM Board or of its Committees and Task Forces. CJM’s use of its resources, its interactions with others, etc. are likewise available to the public.

E. Confidentiality: CJM formalized its confidentiality policy in the Fall of 2000.

bottom of page