USA: Serving People in Federal Detention Centers

06 February 2014

Jesuit Father Richard Sotelo celebrates Mass with detainees at the federal detention center in El Paso, Texas. (Christian Fuchs/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provides direct service via the Detention Chaplaincy Program. The JRS/USA chaplaincy programs provide pastoral and religious assistance to meet the needs of non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security in three U.S. federal detention centers located in Texas, Arizona, New York. These programs enable people of all faiths to have access to pastoral care within their faith tradition.



During 2013, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA chaplaincy programs coordinated 1,339 religious services, 504 religious teachings, and 582 spiritual support sessions in which 50,566 detainees participated. JRS/USA’s chaplaincy staff spent nearly 1,071 hours of direct service offering religious services, religious teachings, and spiritual support. In addition, our chaplains spent 1,086 hours visiting detainees in special housing units as well as another 1,655 hours providing detainees with religious items, processing requests for religious diets. Volunteers played a significant role by giving more than 1,538 hours for religious services, religious teachings, and spiritual support.

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