The mission of Richmond Sheriff’s Chaplains is to provide, from a multi-faith perspective, pastoral care, religious instruction, spiritual guidance, worship opportunities, and other related services. Chaplains serve residents of the Richmond City Jail, and, Officers, Deputies, and Staff of the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office and their families.
The ministry of Richmond Sheriff’s Chaplains does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, criminal offense, economic status, education, disability, gender, history of incarceration, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.
Possessed of the vision that a partnership with faith based institutions could be of real benefit in meeting the needs of Jail residents, Sheriff C. T. Woody appointed the Rev. Canon Dr. Alonzo C. Pruitt, an Episcopal priest, to serve as Chief of Chaplains in 2008. Among other duties, he serves as a Colonel and coordinates the work of more than 80 volunteer Chaplains representing numerous faiths and denominations. Baptists, Christian Scientists, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, the Nation of Islam, Non-Denominationalists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and Sunni Muslims participate in religious programs in the Richmond City Jail.
Our Chaplaincy Program provides multiple worship services, Bible and Koran studies, and pastoral care programs to our jail residents each week.
Chaplains have raised funds to repaint the renamed Redemption Chapel and the Jail’s main entryway in keeping with the Sheriff’s action plan to enhance the Jail for residents, staff, families, and visitors. Chaplains also work with the Education Tier in assisting Residents in preparing for their GED examinations.
Richmond Sheriff’s Chaplains have added a weekly 12-Step Recovery meeting for Jail residents as well as meditation and prayer times for many Deputies as they begin their tours of duty. Chaplains also serve at the John Marshall, Oliver Hill, and Manchester Courthouses as a support to Deputies, Staff, and the public.
The recipients of strong community support, Chaplains receive donations of Bibles, Spanish language Bibles and periodicals, Korans, books, magazines, envelopes, stamps, underwear, socks, reading glasses, and other items needed by Jail residents.
Given the Sheriff’s innovative support, Chaplains assist Jail residents in observing cultural and religious holidays including Easter, Ramadan, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas, and plans are underway to expand the number of faith-based institutions that will offer music in the Jail. Volunteers also teach regular men’s and women’s Yoga classes for Residents.
Students from the Department of Social Work of Virginia Commonwealth University also regularly counsel Jail residents and assist them in the development of plans to achieve a successful reentry to life beyond the Jail.
Chaplains also assist in the graduation ceremonies of new deputies, birthday and retirement celebrations for staff, and in notifying and counseling Jail residents who experience the death of a loved one.