Frequently Asked Questions for Chaplains & Wardens
What is needed from the Unit?
1. How often does Jubilee need access into the unit?
We typically have two weekends in each unit every year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. A portion of the volunteer team will return once a month for 2-3 hours to meet with the Jubilee graduates and continue the program.
2. What equipment and other materials do you need to bring inside the unit?
We typically need to bring in sound equipment, tables and chairs (if the unit does not already have this inside), overhead projection equipment, and food and serving trays. We have a well-developed system of ensuring that a list of all of these materials are provided well in advance of the weekend and everything we bring inside has been vetted and approved for use in prisons. Also, we will be delivering food 3 times a day plus one-day hand out a dozen cookies to everyone in the unit.
3. What kind of rooms will you require?
The optimal rooms would be a chapel and two meeting rooms that can hold the entire team (42 participants, 30 outside volunteers, and any required corrections staff). However, one large room that we can divide into 2 areas will also work nicely; one family area for round tables and one meeting area. The meeting and eating area would have eight tables with 9 chairs each for the participants and volunteers. The chapel is set-up theater style with 9 rows of 10 chairs. We also need a smaller place to handle plating the food, etc. We are usually able to make most spaces work (we even have some units where we bring in event tents and build our own rooms!).
What are the participant requirements?
1. How many inmates are involved in a Jubilee Weekend?
There are typically between 36 - 48 weekend Participants and there are 12-15 inmate Stewards. We recommend as a standard model, 42 Participants and 14 Stewards
2. How are participants selected? Who are the ideal candidates?
Jubilee works with the Chaplain and the security staff to select inmates. We try to ensure that the racial mix of the participant group reflects the racial mix of the prison environment. We welcome participants from any faith or background, but with the understanding that this is a Christian program. Participants do not need to be a Christian to attend and they do not need to become a Christian during the program. We find that it is best if the participant group includes a mix of non-believers, skeptics, inmate leaders, and chapel regulars. Of course, all inmate participants are volunteers and there is never any incentive or coercion involved in encouraging an inmate to participate.
3. Do participants have to speak English?
The program is conducted in English but we have Spanish language notebooks with all of the talk outlines and we have Spanish language prayer books so Spanish-speakers for whom English is a second language can fully participate. Most volunteer teams will also have Spanish-speaking volunteers so it is very helpful to know ahead of time so we can match volunteers with participants who may have difficulty with English.
How does the weekend work at the Unit?
1. How many volunteers will be coming in?
There are typically between 28-35 volunteers on a weekend plus 2-4 "runners" who deliver food and other supplies. These volunteers are all the same gender as the population. Additionally, we invite guests (both men and women) to the commencement which typically takes place on Sunday between 3-5 pm. Most units will give us a maximum number of guests but typically we will see a total of 50-70 free-world guests (including the weekend volunteers).
2. What is the schedule for the Jubilee Weekend?
Our set-up typically requires 2-3 hours on Thursday (during which we ask the inmate Steward team to join us). We typically have three full days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, followed by a half-day program the following Saturday. The simplified schedule can be downloaded here.
What are the Jubilee benefits and other programs?
1. How does Jubilee benefit the unit and the corrections staff?
The Jubilee program is focused on the spiritual transformation of the individuals who attend. It is our experience that the program not only has a positive impact on the individuals and on their behavior, but it helps to grow and expand the community of faith inside the unit. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the inmate culture and even the culture among the corrections staff.
2. How is Jubilee different from other prison ministry programs?
Each program has its own emphasis and its own curriculum so it is difficult to compare each one individually. The Jubilee program is focused on shorter-term inmates and with its emphasis on both transformation and transition it is geared toward preparing inmates for a faith-based life after release. The Jubilee volunteers will return monthly to hold a worship and prayer session that serves as both additional instruction and also as an accountability and "spiritual recharge" for the participants.
3. Does Jubilee Prison Ministry Operate outside prisons?
Not at this time.
4. Does Jubilee Prison Ministry Operate help with re-entry?
Jubilee does not operate a formal re-entry program. We do, however, work with a number of other re-entry ministries and we periodically invite them to be part of the monthly program to help Jubilee graduates become more aware of faith-based re-entry options. We also work with a number of mentoring programs to refer Jubilee graduates. Finally, we are currently building a network of partner church communities that will welcome Jubilee graduates when they are released.