The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) provides a wide range of faith-based programs to all inmates in state correctional facilities. Religious services and programs assure that inmates have the opportunity to practice the basic tenets of their religion. Religious services and programs promote high morals, encourage positive lifestyle changes and can play a critical role in an inmate's rehabilitation.
The Department of Correction is committed to providing inmates with the opportunity to practice the basic tenets of their faith through religious observances.
Approximately 2000 inmates or 30% of the population participate in religious services or programs. Worship services for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim offenders are provided on a regular basis. Religious services for inmates of other faiths are provided as needed.
Approximately 795 individuals volunteer their time, talent and energies to provide a wide range of religious programs to Delaware's incarcerated population.
Full or part-time chaplains serve each of Delaware's Level 5 (prison) correctional institutions (Howard R. Young Correctional Institution (Gander Hill), Webb Correctional Facility, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, Sussex Correctional Institution).
Inmates are given the opportunity to practice their faith. Each correctional facility has a religious services area that is multi-denominational. It is suitable for worship for those of varying beliefs. The Department has full and part-time chaplains on staff. Volunteers also provide religious services/programs. Services for Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish inmates are provided on a regular basis. Services for inmates who observe other faiths are provided as needed.
Religiously mandated diets are accommodated through the provision of alternative meals. For example, Muslim inmates unable to eat pork will be offered an alternate dietary choice. Additionally, a Rabbi blesses all meals offered to inmates who are Orthodox Jews. Inmates may also purchase foods from the commissary to supplement their diet. All meals meet recommended daily dietary requirements as directed by the USDA.
Inmates are permitted to observe special religious occasions. Such observations include Eid-al-Fitr and Passover. Consequently, correctional institutions will accommodate inmates who wish to take part in ritual meals. Muslim inmates may participate in the Eid-al-Fitr. Jewish inmates may participate in Seder meals prior to Passover.
The Delaware Department of Correction encourages and provides opportunities for responsible community volunteers/groups to provide and support religious services and programs. These volunteers come from a variety of denominations and faiths. They provide Bible studies, seminars, outreach efforts, transition programs and counseling. They provide a positive and caring atmosphere that is critical to the rehabilitative effort. There are approximately 795 volunteers providing religious services to Delaware inmates.
Full or part-time chaplains serve each of Delaware's Level 5 (prison) correctional institutions (Howard R. Young Correctional Institution (Gander Hill), Webb Correctional Facility, Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Sussex Correctional Institution). These chaplains are Department of Correction staff. They provide the religious guidance and spiritual direction that is often the foundation for inmates making positive changes in their lives. Inmates often seek the comfort of the chaplain during difficult times such as the death of a loved one or a legal setback. The chaplains are often the source inmates seek for forgiveness of their crimes.