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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Chaplaincy Program

The mission of the Chaplaincy Department of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to positively impact public safety and reduce recidivism through moral rehabilitation by rendering pastoral care and quality programming to facilitate spiritual transformation.

Program Overview:

The Chaplaincy Department provides morally enriched programs that assist offenders in their institutional adjustment and prepare them for successful reentry. A variety of programs, activities and community participation encourage offenders to pursue their faith, reconcile relationships and strengthen their families. Participation in religious activities and attendance at religious services is voluntary.

It is the policy of the TDCJ to extend to all offenders as much freedom and opportunity as possible for pursuing individual beliefs and practices, consistent with security, safety and orderly operations of the institution. Chaplaincy services are nondiscriminatory in the treatment of offenders’ religious beliefs, and established policies do not permit the disparaging of any faith or the proselytization of any offender. Chaplains coordinate and oversee the activities of the religious volunteer program, actively recruiting volunteers from various faith groups to provide services to offenders.

The TDCJ Chaplaincy Department is comprised of over 110 unit level chaplains of multiple faiths. The number of chaplains is determined by unit capacity and may range from a minimum of one to a maximum of three chaplains. There are also six regional chaplains to supervise the unit chaplains, and five area Muslim chaplains to provide guidance for Muslim programming. There are five parole chaplains to render programming and services to parolees and staff. In addition, the TDCJ contracts for services with Native American and Jewish chaplains.

Programs of the Chaplaincy Department include, but are not limited to:

  • Religious Services
  • Visitation/Hospitality House Ministry
  • Hospice Care Ministry
  • Ministry to death row offenders and their families
  • Ministry to the families of victims during the execution process
  • Pastoral Care
  • Religious Volunteer Programs
  • Voyager Life Skills Programs
  • Faith-Based Pre-Release Programs
  • Mentoring
  • Family Unification Programs (e.g. Day with Dad, One Day with God, and Marriage Seminars)
  • Spiritual Growth Programs

In addition, the Chaplaincy Department coordinates the implementation of faith-based dorms. These dorms offer support and accountability, along with a faith-based curriculum and mentoring program. The programming is conducted by local faith-based community volunteers whose activities are directed by the unit chaplain and unit administration. Faith-based dorms are open to offenders of all faiths and generally include:

  • life skills classes
  • spiritual classes
  • structured activities
  • accountability/support groups

Link for questions related to Volunteer Information.

Program Contacts:

Michael Rutledge
Manager of Chaplaincy Operations
Two Financial Plaza, Suite 472
Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 437-6319

Timothy Jones
Assistant Director of Chaplaincy
Two Financial Plaza, Suite 472
Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 437-6024