Here is the ugly reality facing Texas:
1) The primary budget cutters do not value what Chaplains do. They have cut the entire department. These trained professionals manage the religious programs at each Texas Prison.
2) If they are cut, the program will have to be managed by a correctional officer or a secretary. (They will be pulled from their other duties -- little savings, huh!)
3) Chaplains also provide "Pastoral Care" for everyone in the institution. It is difficult to find a community of 500 people in America which does not have pastoral care. Such care will be very hit and miss without the Chaplaincy Department if it occurs at all.
4) All a Chaplain has to do to recoop his entire yearly salary is influence one prisoner a year to give up his/her criminal activity. The state will pay more on the person's next incarceration than is paid to the chaplain in a year.
5) The very effective Religious Programming which we now have in Texas prisons, does not happen automatically. Religious Volunteers must be recruited and managed. That is the task of our chaplains. Without them, the programming will become very uneven, if it is able to exist at all. ...HB 1 has Chaplaincy listed as “zero funded” … which means if it is not “funded” in House Bill 1 (the Appropriation Bill), and not “funded in Senate Bill 1( the Finance Bill), in a couple of months both the house and senate will appoint from the Senate Finance Committee and from the House Appropriations Committee about 3-4 from each body. They will form the Conference Committee which works out the differences between HB 1 and SB 1. It could be TOO LATE if chaplaincy is not “funded” before the conference committee. The Key is encouraging people (constituents) to get with their Rep and Senator and express how important it is to you and how it is good for Texas to continue the Chaplaincy Department with at least one chaplain at each prison. Say to them: “Don’t Let Chaplaincy fail to get Funded on your watch” – “If we lose it here, we may NEVER get it back.” ...
Do not forget to Pray for guidance as you make contact with those who represent you in State Government!Say what you will about the chaplaincy program, and I know it has its critics, but I admire Emmett a great deal and couldn't agree with him more on this, particularly his observation that "All a Chaplain has to do to recoup his entire yearly salary is influence one prisoner a year to give up his/her criminal activity. The state will pay more on the person's next incarceration than is paid to the chaplain in a year." How true. Another penny wise, pound foolish cut.
Hat tip to Bill Robinson at Corrections Concepts.