Our Community Chaplain meets with inmates in order to discuss their needs and to help find community supports prior to their release. When possible this planning should begin 6-12 months prior to their release. A questionnaire is used that clearly demonstrates the unique needs each inmate will have when moving into the community.
Accompaniment to the Community
Whenever possible, the Community Chaplain picks up the inmate on release day and escorts him into the community. Our Chaplain takes him to his first Community Parole meeting, to check in at the police station, to Ontario Works and to his immediate place of residence. Our Chaplain is also available to help with renewal of health ID cards, etc. as needed.
Connecting With Other Community Chaplaincies Across Canada
Community Chaplaincies and other support groups exist in several other communities across the country. If the inmate is being released to an area where this service is available, we will make those connections for them prior to their release.
One-on-one Counselling Sessions
This takes place in the institution before release and/or in the community after release. It will help the inmate to explore who they are and what they need in order to successfully integrate back into the community.
Connection with Faith Groups
If the inmate has an interest in connecting with a particular faith group – regardless of religion or denomination – we will make those connections for them and accompany them to their first worship service.
The Friendship Gathering
The “Friendship Gathering” is a monthly gathering that provides emotional, spiritual and social support for those who have been released into the Kingston community, their supporters and their families. This is followed by a Potluck Friendship Meal at which many of our board members and volunteers also attend.
The program was launched in January 2011 with funding received from The Sisters of Charity – Halifax and The Sisters of Providence Vincent de Paul in Kingston. We have seen that there is a huge need in our community to continue and expand this outreach. We are hopeful that funding for this program will continue so that we can carry on with these monthly meetings this year.
Below are some comments from attendees:
“Each meeting with friends improves and the friendship grows. It’s wonderful.” Tom B.
“I’m so glad to be a part of this wonderful community. Thanks for all your kindness.” Diane S.
“Enjoyed the day very much and had a great time.” L Keeting