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Introduction
Wednesday, December 17, 2008


New RSPs

Starting a new RSP at detention facility is a challenging and rewarding endeavor. Here Jesuit Refugee Service/USA offers its insight into starting a new program based on years of experience partnering with DHS. RSP Structure and Staffing explains the national and local management teams that JRS/USA uses to implement its RSP. This includes the responsibilities divided between each team and the duties of the staff members that administer the RSP. Local RSP Planning reviews how to plan a new RSP at a detention facility. Basic planning starts with visiting the potential site to determine its needs.  That assessment informs planning about the chaplain’s role and the necessary resources that will support a successful chaplain. Finally, Evaluating the RSP describes essential administrative, monitoring, and improvement methods for a program including some specific evaluation tools. A successful RSP ministers to detainees, but it also tracks the quality of the services.

Existing RSPs

Ensuring that a functioning RSP supplies all the mandated religious services and pastoral care is crucial. The RSP Review enables an established RSP to identify the most important features of a well-run program. This quick questionnaire verifies the religious services a RSP already furnishes for detainees and points out ICE/ERO rules so that chaplains can fine-tune a program to better meet the detainee population's religious needs.   

Common Daily Issues

Chaplains ministering detainees encounter situations and issues on daily basis pertaining to a wide range of topics such as volunteers, planning for holy days, satisfying religious dietary requirements. Below are some common questions that confront chaplains and staff overseeing RSPs. The answers to the questions include the relevant ICE/ERO Detention Standards and, where applicable, supplementary information compiled from the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Technical Reference on Inmate Religious Beliefs and Practices.

What are the basic rules?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Opportunities and Limitations

How does a detainee select a religious preference?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Preferences

What are the duties and responsibilities of a chaplain?

5.5 Expected Practices – Chaplains or Other Religious Services Coordinators

What should I know about arranging a religious service?

5.5 Expected Practices – Schedules and Facilities

Required Daily Observances

Required Weekly Observances

Required Occasional Observances

Are there special considerations for detainees in the Special Management or Hospital Unit?

5.5 Expected Practices – Detainees in Special Management and Hospital Units

Medical Prohibitions of Major Religions

What are the rules for volunteers?

5.5 Expected Practices – Contractors and Volunteers

5.7 Expected Practices – Visits from Community Service Organizations

For sample volunteer training materials, please consult the Volunteering section

How can I assist a detainee that wants to see clergy from his faith tradition?

5.5 Expected Practices – Pastoral Visits

Directory of Religious Centers (Harvard University Pluralism Project)

How do I handle a detainee request for an unfamiliar religious practice?

5.5 Expected Practices – Introduction of New and Unfamiliar Religious Components

How should I handle holy days?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Holy Days

5.5 Expected Practices – Work Assignments

Major Holy Days

Calendars of Religious Holidays

What are the regulations for religious property?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Property and Personal Care

Congregate Religious Property

Personal Religious Property

Sacred Writings of Major Religions

What do I do for a detainee with a specific religious dietary need?

5.5 Expected Practices – Dietary Requirements

4.1 Expected Practices – Religious/Special Diets (1-12)

Authorization for Common Fare Participation

Dietary Restrictions for Major Religions

Keeping Kosher: Jewish Dietary Laws

How do I accommodate a religious fast?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Fasts

4.1 Expected Practices – Religious/Special Diets – 13

Can I use wine in religious ceremonies?

5.5 Expected Practices – Religious Use of Wine 

What should I do in cases of death or serious illness?

5.5 Expected Practices – Death or Serious Illness of Family Members

Burial Rituals of Select Religious Traditions 

Where can I learn more about a specific religion?

World Religions 101