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Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners

This instruction applies to :-

Reference :

NOMS Agency staff


PSI 51/2011

Issue Date

Effective Date

Expiry Date

3 November 2011

3 November 2011

2 November 2015

Issued on the authority of

NOMS Agency Board

For action by

Deputy Directors of Custody

Governors and Directors of Contracted Prisons

Chaplaincy Line Managers

Co-ordinating Chaplains

Chaplaincy Teams

For information

All Public Sector and Contracted Prison Staff with particular relevance for Catering Managers, Security Departments and Diversity Managers


Chaplaincy HQ

E mail: chaplaincyhqenquiries@noms.gsi.gov.uk

Associated documents

PSI 44/2010 Catering meals for prisoners

PSI 48/2010 Searching of the person

PSI 49/2010 Cell area and vehicle searching

Chaplaincy Handbook (in development) accessed via The Chaplaincy Website.

Annual PSI setting out Religious Festival dates

Replaces the following documents which are hereby cancelled :

PSI 51/2011 “Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners” must replace PSO 4550 “Religion Manual” copies of which must now be destroyed.

Audit/monitoring :

Deputy Directors of Custody must ensure that Governors and Directors comply with this Instruction. The Chaplain General and the Chaplaincy HQ Team, together with Regional Chaplains need to be satisfied that Chaplaincy Teams are compliant.

Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners - Introduction

Executive Summary

1.1 The Prison Service recognises and respects the right of prisoners to register and practise their faith whilst in custody.

This PSI supports the Specification: Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners. It sets out the procedures that should be followed in the delivery of the Specification.

Desired Outcome
1.2 The faith and religious needs of prisoners are met.

1.3 The pastoral needs of prisoners are addressed, in part, through Chaplaincy provision.

1.4 Governing Governors and Directors of contracted-out prisons

Chaplaincy Line Managers

Co-ordinating Chaplains and Chaplaincy Teams

Other personnel and prisoner-facing departments including:


Safer Custody


Mandatory Actions

1.5 Governors must ensure faith provision is available to all prisoners in accordance with the Service Specification “Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners”

Mandatory actions are specified in this Instruction by the use of italic typeface.
Resource Impact
1.6 The implementation of this PSI does not require any additional funding.


Digby Griffith

Director of National Operational Services
Part One – General Faith Provision

Service Element: Religious Provision
1 Chaplaincy Faith Provision

Output 1 The Chaplaincy provision reflects the faith / denominational requirements of the prison.

1.1 Chaplains and Chaplaincy Teams must be appointed to meet the needs and reflect the faith make up of the prison population. Chaplains must be recruited and appointed in line with national Prison Service guidelines.

1.2 Where there is no Chaplain of a particular faith available to a prison the advice of the Regional Chaplain, Faith Adviser and/or Chaplaincy HQ should be sought.

1.3 All pre-appointment checks and security clearances must be in place before a Chaplain can commence work. All Chaplains must also have the endorsement of the relevant Faith Adviser prior to appointment. Some Chaplains may also need written permission (e.g. Licence) from their faith leader as a condition of appointment.

1.4 The Chaplaincy Team will normally include employed (full time and part-time) and sessionally paid Chaplains. Chaplains nominated and endorsed by the NOMS Faith Adviser but non-remunerated are Volunteer Chaplains and part of the Chaplaincy Team.

1.5 The status of the appointment (employed or sessional) should reflect the demands of the post and the hours necessary to carry out the duties:

My Services
1.6 Appointments should be made of Chaplains who may not always be required on a regular basis but who can respond when prisoners of their faith are registered.

1.7 It may be expedient to appoint Chaplains of different traditions or denominations within the same faith. [A tradition or denomination is where there are some essential aspects of belief or practice that differ within the same faith]

1.8 It may be necessary to appoint on a temporary basis a Chaplain to meet particular needs of prisoners with regard to denomination, language or culture.

1.9 Chaplaincy Volunteers, though not endorsed by a Faith Adviser at national level, may also be recognised as part of the wider Chaplaincy Team and receive appropriate training for the work they undertake. They work under the direction of the Chaplain to whom they are responsible and accountable and under the overall leadership of the Co-ordinating Chaplain.

1.10 Chaplaincy Volunteers should not be responsible for Statutory Duties apart from the exceptional circumstance when a Chaplain is unavailable.

1.11 Chaplains should work as an inclusive team and meet together on a regular basis, at least bi-monthly. All Chaplains should:

  • Be invited to attend Team Meetings.

  • Receive notice of the Team Meeting together with Agenda and Minutes.

  • Have the opportunity to contribute to Chaplaincy policy and budget decisions.

  • Be granted access to resources that enable them to carry out their work.

  • Receive all appropriate communications and information.

  • Be given fair access to training and attendance at Chaplaincy Regional and National meetings.

1.12 The Functional Head responsible for Chaplaincy should receive Agendas and Minutes of all Team Meetings and be invited to attend. Team Meetings should be advertised along with other departmental meetings in accordance with local practice.

1.13 A Co-ordinating Chaplain should be appointed by the Governor as a Team Leader. This responsibility may be on a permanent basis or for an agreed period of time. It may be a role shared between employed members of the Chaplaincy Team.

Co-ordinating Chaplain Doc on Chaplaincy Website

2 Reception into prison
Output 2 Prisoners have access to a member of the Chaplaincy Team on first reception into each establishment.

Where their faith is not represented, arrangements are made for them to have access to a Minister of their own faith.
2.1 Religious registration made upon Reception should be checked and confirmed as accurate by a Chaplain on a Reception Visit. Errors must be corrected immediately and noted as “wrongly registered”. If the choice of faith does not carry a Prison Service code the prisoner should choose a registration that is closest to the preferred option or “Non Specified”. Prisoners who do not wish to specify a religion or denomination should be entered as “Nil Religion” or “Non Specified.
PSI 52/2010 Early Days in Custody
2.2 Prisoners must be treated as being of the faith by which they are registered for all their religious observance needs.
2.3 A prisoner must not be subject to any form of discrimination or infringement of their human rights by declaring themselves of any faith or religion or as belonging to none.

A case of alleged discrimination on the grounds of a prisoner’s registered religion must be recorded in the Chaplaincy Team Journal and reported to the Governor. Each case will be investigated by the Equalities Manager or other appointed manager.

2.4 A prisoner must not be required to undertake such work that is unsuitable or offensive to their registered religion.

2.5 A Chaplain must see each new reception as soon as possible after they are received into prison.

This may be a brief introductory visit and conducted either on an individual basis or within a group setting. It should take place within 48 hours of the prisoner being received into an establishment. Each prisoner should be offered a Chaplaincy Reception leaflet setting out the names and faith designations of each member of the Chaplaincy Team together with details of the faith provision available. Further contact with a Chaplain and additional information can be incorporated within the subsequent Induction Programme.

2.6 If the Chaplaincy reception visit is not made by someone of the prisoner’s own faith:

  • The prisoner should be informed who the appropriate Chaplain is and their availability.

  • If there is no specific request by the prisoner to see the Chaplain of their faith the appropriate Chaplain should be informed within seven days.

  • If there is a specific request from the prisoner to see a Chaplain of their faith the appropriate Chaplain should be informed within 24 hours.

2.7 Visits to new receptions should be recorded within Chaplaincy.

2.8 All Chaplains should have the opportunity to access prisoner details on Prison-NOMIS.

2.9 Chaplains who undertake faith specific duties only should receive a weekly list (or at different intervals if this is agreed between the Co-ordinating Chaplain and the appropriate Chaplain) in advance of their visit showing all prisoners registered (if any) of their faith tradition.

3 Change of Religious Registration
Output 3 Prisoners are able to change their religious registration

3.1 A prisoner must notify the Co-ordinating Chaplain in writing if they wish to change their religious registration. They should complete the form at Appendix One. Chaplains of the current religious registration and the intended registration should be informed and sent a copy of the prisoner’s notification (Appendix One) within seven days of the change being made on Prison-NOMIS. They may wish to visit the prisoner.

3.2 The prisoner must be informed in writing that their notification to change religion has been completed.

3.3 On completion of the prisoner’s notification the prisoner’s records should be updated to reflect the change. The prisoner must be allowed to observe the faith practice of the new registration from the time the change is made.

3.4 When considering a change of religion a prisoner should be permitted to attend acts of worship of the faith by which they are not currently registered but which they are considering changing to. This should happen with the knowledge of the appropriate Chaplains and for an agreed period of time. Consideration should be given to issues of control and security in any arrangement.

3.5 All changes in religious registration (excluding “wrongly registered”) should be recorded within Chaplaincy and be available to the Governor on request.

4 Corporate Worship or Meditation
Output 4 Prisoners have the opportunity for corporate worship or meditation for one hour per week.
4.1 Provision must be made to enable all prisoners who choose to do so to attend the main religious observance of the week for the faith in which they are registered.
4.2 Prisoners must be treated as belonging to the faith currently entered on their record.

They must be able to attend corporate worship or meditation unless specifically excluded under:

  • Rule 46 (CSC or SSU or similarly designated prisoners).

  • Individual cases authorised by the Governor.

4.3 In exceptional individual cases a prisoner may be excluded from a corporate faith activity for a maximum of one month. This exclusion must then be reviewed but may be renewed. The exclusion must be authorised and recorded by the Governor.

Grounds for exclusion may be:

  • Exceptional and specific concerns for the prisoners’ mental or physical wellbeing.

  • In agreement with the Chaplain leading worship it is judged that the prisoner has previously seriously misbehaved at a time of worship or meditation.

  • The Governor judges that their presence is likely to cause a disturbance or be a threat to security or control.

The Governor should inform the Co-ordinating Chaplain, the appropriate Chaplain and the prisoner of the exclusion, giving their reasons. This should be done after the initial exclusion and again after each review and renewal of any exclusion.

Where there is a change of circumstances that justified the original exclusion an earlier review may take place and the exclusion lifted.

The Chaplain of the excluded prisoner’s faith should be invited to offer a view and consideration should be given to such views.

4.4 Prisoners registered “Nil Religion” or “Non Specified” should be able to attend corporate worship or meditation by agreement with the appropriate Chaplain.

4.5 A prisoner should not normally be allowed to attend worship or meditation of more than one faith during the course of a week.

4.6 The “one hour” allowed for corporate worship or meditation should commence once the prisoner(s) expected to attend are present and the appropriate Chaplain is able to begin.

4.7 If the prison has a “split regime” there must be equality of access to corporate worship by each section of the prison population. In some establishments a single act of worship or meditation may serve all within each faith group. In other establishments separate and duplicate services will be necessary. Such duplication may not necessarily take place on the same day or be provided by the same Chaplain.
4.8 Corporate worship and meditation must be accessible to those with disabilities. This may be the provision of physical access or provision for those with impaired sight, hearing or an inability to write.

4.9 Where other regime activities or courses co-incide with corporate worship or meditation or the observance of religious festivals, alternative provision for attendance at the faith activity or other activity should be made.

4.10 Prisoners must not be required to do any non-essential work on key festival days specified for the observance of their faith.
[Hyperlink: PSI Prisoner Employment, Training and Skills in preparation]

4.11 Numbers attending all faith activities should be noted in the Chaplaincy Journal and recorded in Regime Monitoring.

Places of Worship and Meditation
4.12 Each establishment must set aside places for corporate worship and meditation. Such accommodation should be of a size to reflect the practising faith population of each faith. Places for worship and meditation must be capable of being configured to reflect the religious, cultural and symbolic requirements of each tradition.

    1. In locating places for worship and meditation it is advisable that they:

  • Are accessible.

  • Are located away from undue noise or disturbance.

        • Include proximity to ablution / washing facilities.

  • Are convenient for staff observation and supervision.

  • Are well decorated; heated; ventilated and carpeted.

  • Contain suitable storage facilities for artefacts and books and religious symbols.

  • Provide a shoe rack where necessary.

  • Fulfil the needs of all appropriate Chaplains and faith practice.

  • Can be configured to accommodate those faiths that are required to worship or pray in a fixed direction.

4.14 Places for worship and meditation should be of a size to accommodate all those who wish to attend worship or meditation. Numbers allowed to attend corporate worship will be subject to:

  • Health & Safety limits

  • Security & Control limits

Local risk assessments will be conducted to establish upper attendance limits for corporate activities. In cases where there is insufficient capacity to allow all who wish to attend to do so at a single service other provision must be made so that no one is denied access to their main weekly act of worship or meditation.

4.15 A dedicated place for worship and meditation should be available to facilitate personal and private spiritual need (e.g. bereavement; anniversaries; confession; counselling). Such need should take precedence over other use.

4.16 There should be a clear agreement within the Chaplaincy Team on how the places for worship and meditation are to be arranged for each act of worship or meditation. Religious artefacts may need to be removed or covered and replaced in preparation for other faith observance. There should be suitable storage available for faith items.

4.17 The religious use of places for worship and meditation must take priority. Non-religious use of this space is at the discretion of the Governor in consultation with the Chaplaincy Team.

4.18 Places for worship and meditation must be treated with respect by prisoners and staff at all times. It is disrespectful to place items on a Communion Table/Altar or on the floor; to walk in front of the direction of prayer or across prayer mats. Staff should avoid doing so unless responding to an incident.

4.19 Secure storage is required for such items as Communion Wine and Incense.

There should be an inventory system to monitor the use of Communion Wine containing alcohol. Some traditions use non-alcoholic wine. Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions require the use of alcoholic wine.

[Hyper-link: PSI Conveyance and Possession of Prohibited Items and Other Related Offences in preparation]
4.20 Governors should take into account sensitivities when changing or introducing new security procedures or changes of purpose within faith areas. When such schemes are under consideration there should be liaison between the Governor, Co-ordinating Chaplain and the Chaplaincy Team.

4.21 Guidance on the setting up and management of places for worship and meditation are set out in a separate MoJ publication (Places for Worship and Meditation in Prison).

The Summary section from this document is included as Appendix Two in this PSI.

Provision for smaller faith groups or where a Chaplain is not present

4.22 For some smaller faith groups there may not be an appropriate Chaplain available each week to lead corporate worship or meditation. In these circumstances, as a temporary arrangement and subject to risk assessment and appropriate supervision, prisoners from the faith concerned may be allowed to meet together for weekly worship or meditation. In these circumstances a prisoner may lead the prayers, worship or meditation. The appropriate Chaplain, where one is appointed, should agree in advance which prisoner(s) will be involved in leading worship or meditation. In the absence of an appointed appropriate Chaplain the leading of worship or meditation should be agreed with the Co-ordinating Chaplain in consultation with the Faith Adviser. This should only ever be a temporary arrangement to be used as a contingency measure in the absence of an appropriate Chaplain.

4.23 Staff supervision must be similar to that when a Chaplain is present.

4.24 This arrangement will not normally apply to Christian or Muslim worship or prayers when a Chaplain is expected to be present. Muslim prisoners in the High Security Estate must not lead Friday Prayer. A contingency plan should be in place for emergency cover for Friday Prayer in the HSE.

Informal unsupervised worship, religious study or meditation

4.25 Prisoners of the same faith may wish to gather for private worship (i.e. small wing-based or landing-based group not attended by a Chaplain). Staff and prisoners need clear local guidance on when, how and where this can take place. These instructions should incorporate any faith specific guidance contained in Part Two (Faith Annexes)

4.26 The number of prisoners gathering for private worship outside formal corporate worship or meditation should be in line with the number allowed for other wing / landing based activities. Any larger meetings for faith based activity unsupervised by a Chaplain must be authorised by a Governor.

4.27 Unsupervised worship or prayer should not compromise any communal area (e.g TV Lounge; Association Room or Landing).

4.28 Local Cell association policies apply to numbers for worship or study (e.g. if three prisoners are allowed in a cell for other purposes then this number should apply to worship, prayer, meditation or religious study). In the case of shared cell accommodation each occupant must be in agreement, without coercion, with others being invited into the cell for the faith activity.

4.29 Staff who have concerns about a faith activity should bring it to the attention of the Governor via the SIR system and also contact the appropriate Chaplain.

5 Segregation and Healthcare
Output 5 Prisoners located in Segregation Units or Healthcare Units have the opportunity for corporate worship or meditation for one hour per week.

5.1 This section covers Segregation and Healthcare but the provision should be extended to other “smaller / special units”.

5.2 Prisoners located in a Segregation Unit or Health Care Centre (or similar “smaller unit”) must be able to attend the main corporate worship or meditation of their registered faith unless prevented under 4.2 or 4.3 above. A protocol must be in place to enable them to attend corporate worship or meditation.

If necessary a risk assessment must be undertaken and the appropriate Chaplain should be consulted. The prisoner should be notified by a Governor of the outcome within 7 days of the application being received by the Segregation or Health Care Manager and prior to the worship service.
[A model Application Form / Risk Assessment is available as Appendix Three]

5.3 Where prisoners are excluded from attending corporate faith activity under 4.2 or 4.3 above consideration should be given to alternative provision. Ideally a Quiet Room should be provided within smaller unit accommodation (Health Care Centre; Segregation Unit / Special Secure Unit) for worship and meditation. In the absence of a dedicated Quiet Room another suitable alternative room should be made available on request.

5.4 There should be the opportunity for a single individual or a small group to come together to share in those elements of corporate worship from which they are otherwise excluded or unable to attend and that are practical to provide. The Chaplain of each faith whose registered members are located in such units should, where possible, make arrangements with the unit manager (SEG/SACU/CSC/HCC) to conduct weekly worship or meditation.

This will be very important in the celebration of religious festivals.

6 Religious Festivals
Output 6 Recognised religious feasts, fasts and festivals are observed.
6.1 Recognised and authorised worship; feasts; fasts and festivals must be observed in line with Part Two (Faith Annexes) to this PSI and as published annually by Chaplaincy HQ as “Religious Festival Dates”

6.2 After consultation with the appropriate Chaplain, the Co-ordinating Chaplain should publish in advance for staff the arrangements for a forthcoming religious observance. This should include a brief note regarding the meaning, relevance and importance of the occasion to the faith group concerned.

6.3 Supervisory staff must be available for the observance of the festival.

6.4 The prisoner faith group should be notified of the forthcoming observance and the arrangements that are in place to celebrate the occasion.

6.5 If the observance is to include the provision of food the kitchen should be consulted in advance and arrangements agreed.

6.6 The provision of food for religious festivals must be in line with requirements set out in the Catering PSI and Operating Manual. There must be equitable provision, as far as practicable, across the faith traditions.

6.7 Ideally a festival should be observed on the day on which it falls. If there is variation of opinion within a faith group, the day should be agreed with the appropriate Chaplain in consultation with the Faith Adviser. If the appropriate Chaplain is unable to attend on the precise day of the festival an alternative occasion should be agreed in advance.

6.8 Provision must be made for equality of access for prisons with a split regime.

6.9 Prisoners registered as belonging to the faith being observed / celebrated must be allowed to attend the celebration unless excluded under 4.2 or 4.3.above. Prisoners are not required to work on recognised key festival days. Reference should be made to the annual Religious Festival Dates.
PSI 44/2010 Catering meals for prisoners. Also the Catering Operating Manual

7 Community Faith Groups
Output 7 Prisoners have the opportunity to engage with members of their faith group from the community.

7.1 Prisoners are entitled to visits from their local/home clergy or Minister (e.g Priest; Imam; Rabbi or equivalent)

Arrangements should be in place for local/home clergy or ministers to visit those prisoners who request a visit and are registered as belonging to their faith. Such visits are in addition to the statutory allowance. This is to enable the prisoner to maintain links with their home and community.

  • One individual from the outside faith group should be nominated and the necessary level of security clearance obtained.

  • Where the status of an individual within a religious body is unclear advice should be sought from the appropriate Chaplain, Co-ordinating Chaplain, Regional Chaplain or Faith Adviser.

  • Visiting arrangements will vary according to establishment but should ensure privacy and confidentiality.

  • Pastoral visits should follow local procedure and be at intervals deemed by the Governor and appropriate Chaplain to be reasonable. The visits should not normally be more frequent than one per month.

        • In the event of disagreement the Governor, in consultation with the appropriate Chaplain, Co-ordinating Chaplain; Regional Chaplain and Chaplaincy HQ, will decide what is reasonable.

PSI 16/2011 Providing Visits and Services to Visitors

PSI 15/2011 Management of security at visits

7.2 Members of outside faith communities should be encouraged and enabled to attend faith and other activities, by agreement with the appropriate Chaplain. This is intended to contribute to pro-social modelling and behaviour and assist with normalisation and re-integration of prisoners.

7.3 Those who visit regularly from the outside community must have an appropriate level of security clearance. They should be registered with the member of staff within the prison responsible for community engagement. They should have an induction programme and training appropriate to their level of responsibility and involvement.

7.4 Provision must be made for equality of access for prisoners operating a split regime.

7.5 Faith communities may be involved in the Induction process, pre-release planning and community re-integration where appropriate.

8 Religious Artefacts and Dress
Output 8 Prisoners have access to authorised religious artefacts, including dress and headwear.
8.1 Prisoners must be allowed to possess or have access to, artefacts and religious texts that are required by their faith. Artefacts and religious texts that are allowed are agreed with the Faith Advisers at Chaplaincy HQ and are found in Part Two (Faith Annexes) of this PSI.

8.2 Prisoners must be allowed to wear dress, including headdress, that accords with the requirements of their registered faith as agreed between the Faith Adviser and the Prison Service. Information on the agreed position is contained in Part Two (Faith Annexes) of this PSI.

PSI 67/2011 Searching of the Person

PSI 68/2011 Cell Area and Vehicle Searching

8.3 Prisoners may be allowed additional artefacts or texts not listed in the Annexes if they are deemed by the Governor to be no threat to security or control and agreed with the appropriate Chaplain.

8.4 In the absence of local agreement about artefacts and dress the Governor should ensure that, subject to there being no threat to security or control, a prisoner is not discriminated against. Advice can be sought from the Co-ordinating Chaplain; Regional Chaplain or Chaplaincy HQ.

8.5 Incense must be available through the Prison Facilities List for those prisoners registered:



Orthodox (Christian)



Chinese Religions

It may be necessary to provide a variety of incense to meet the needs of different traditions within the above faith groups. The Governor may decide to make it available as a general item available to any prisoner. Prisoners who practise the above faiths should be allowed to hold incense in their cell and use it for private worship or meditation, except where 8.7 applies.

Incense in powder or granular form and carbon or iron pellets are not permitted.

8.6 Governors have the discretion to decide on the amount of incense that can reasonably be in possession.

8.7 Governors have discretion to disallow incense in a prisoner’s possession if it constitutes a risk to health, safety, security, good order or discipline. If incense is withheld or withdrawn from a prisoner on these grounds a written explanation must be provided to the prisoner and the appropriate Chaplain and entered on the prisoner record.

9 Access to Religious Classes and Cultural Activities
Output 9 Prisoners have access to a programme of religious educational classes and cultural activities.
9.1 A programme setting out details of the Chaplaincy educational classes and cultural activities will be agreed with the Governor and published throughout the prison.

9.2 Provision should be made for religious education and nurture within each faith group. This will contribute to the Reducing Re-offending Strategy Pathway Seven “Attitude, Thinking and Behaviour” in challenging and changing thinking and behaviour.

9.3 Attendance at religious educational classes and cultural activities is in addition to the statutory one hour of corporate worship / meditation. Classes may follow on from worship and form a unified faith / cultural session.
9.4 Religious classes and cultural activities must be accessible to those with disabilities. This may be the provision of physical access or provision for those with impaired sight, hearing or an inability to write.

9.5 Religious education classes and cultural activities will be offered as part of a Chaplaincy programme and agreed with the Governor.

10 Promotion of Religious Classes and Cultural Activities
Output 10 Prisoners and staff know what religious educational classes and cultural activities are available.

10.1 Co-ordinating Chaplains must ensure there is a published Chaplaincy programme covering all faith communities and activities. This should be included in the Service Level Agreement/ Business Plan. This should be published sufficiently in advance to allow staff and prisoners to integrate faith requirements and opportunities with other prison programmes.

The programme should be published in all staff and prisoner areas. Prisoners for whom the activity is particularly intended should be notified individually.

10.2 The Offender Management Unit and Sentence Planning Unit must be made aware of the Religious Education Classes and Cultural Activities available within Chaplaincy and invited to consider these as appropriate for inclusion as Sentence Plan objectives.

10.3 Suitable and available facilities should be in place to accommodate the agreed Chaplaincy programme.

10.4 Supervisory staff, where required by a risk assessment, must be available for all religious classes and cultural activities agreed by the Governor. A risk assessment should be carried out where appropriate.

10.5 In arranging such a programme the Chaplaincy will need to liaise with:

Education Department

Equalities Manager

Sentence Planning Department

Programmes / Interventions Department

Gym staff

Staff Detail

Service Element: Supervision of prisoners attending corporate worship

11 Supervision of Corporate worship or Meditation
Output 11 Corporate worship or meditation is supervised in line with local risk assessments and agreements

    1. Corporate worship and meditation must take place in an atmosphere of respect. It must be

facilitated to ensure order and control. There is a need to risk assess faith activities in relation to:

  • Numbers attending

  • Security category of attendees

  • Security information on individuals and/or groups

  • Location of the activity

11.2 Chaplains must not be left in sole charge of a large number of prisoners (defined by a local risk assessment) without appropriate support.

11.3 Places of worship and meditation should provide areas for supervising staff to be present within or adjacent to the service. Staff should be within sight and sound of the worship and if within the service or its proximity must not talk unnecessarily; jangle keys or eat and drink during the service.

11.4 Supervision of all religious services (i.e. for any faith) may be by female or male officers.

11.5 Where a staff radio is required this must be fitted with an earpiece to avoid disturbing the service.

11.6 It may be appropriate to provide overshoes for staff supervising some religious services.

11.7 The Chaplain leading corporate worship or meditation is in charge during the duration of the service. Staff should not normally intervene once a service has commenced except in exceptional circumstances – serious and immediate threat to order and control or to health and safety. Under these circumstances staff have the discretion to intervene directly to control or remove prisoners from the service. If staff are requested by the Chaplain to remove an individual(s) or the situation is so serious they are obliged to intervene directly, this should be done sensitively and cause as little disruption as possible.

11.8 It is the responsibility of the Chaplain leading worship or meditation to set and maintain appropriate standards of behaviour. Chaplains leading worship or meditation should have the required skills to enable them to challenge inappropriate behaviour and to maintain order and control. Advice and guidance is available from the Governor, Co-ordinating Chaplain or Regional Chaplain.

Service Element: Pastoral Provision
12 Pastoral Care
Output 12 All prisoners wherever they are located in the prison have access to, and be offered, pastoral care by Chaplaincy staff.
12.1 A Chaplain is able to visit all areas of the prison in which prisoners are located. This is to offer pastoral care and to contribute to decency and safer custody.

12.2 Prisoners who have made an application to see a Chaplain must be seen within 24 hours. The application should be logged by the Wing and by the Chaplaincy. When a request is made to see a Chaplain who is not immediately available that Chaplain should be notified within 24 hours and the notification recorded in the Chaplaincy Team Journal. There should be a record maintained in Chaplaincy that a prisoner has been seen following an application.

12.3 A Chaplain must not visit a prisoner against their will nor subject a prisoner to unwanted or unsolicited persuasion to change their religious affiliation. Where there is an allegation about an unsolicited visit or attempt to persuade a prisoner to change their religious affiliation this will be investigated. If upheld it may lead to disciplinary action.

12.4 Prisoners regardless of religious registration may apply to see any Chaplain.

13 Segregation
Output 13 Prisoners located in the Segregation Unit have access to a member of the Chaplaincy Team each day.

13.1 A member of the Chaplaincy Team must visit prisoners in the Segregation Unit daily. It is a statutory duty to visit all prisoners undergoing cellular confinement. This visit should be facilitated in a similar way to the Governor and Healthcare visit. Not only is this a statutory requirement but it recognises that prisoners located in Segregation can often feel isolated or depressed. They are normally removed from the routine of prison life and excluded from accessing many activities.

13.2 The visit must be recorded in:

  • Segregation Unit Daily Diary

  • Prison-NOMIS case notes and individual Prisoner History Sheets

  • Chaplaincy Team Journal

  • ACCT document (if relevant)

13.3 The prisoner may not wish to speak with the Chaplain and this must be recorded on their Prison-NOMIS case notes and individual history sheet. This should be respected and the prisoner made aware of the ongoing availability of the Chaplaincy Team.

13.4 Applications to attend corporate worship or meditation from prisoners located in a Segregation Unit should be processed in accordance with Section 5 above.

13.5 Where a Chaplain or prisoner requests it there should be a facility for a private conversation. This will be subject to a local Risk Assessment and by arrangement with the Segregation Unit Manager.

13.6 Copies of the scriptures and religious artefacts of each faith listed in Part Two of the PSI must be readily available for those located in the Segregation Unit.

13.7 Where appropriate a Chaplain should be included in the review of prisoners located in Segregation.

PSI Segregation in preparation
13.8 Prisoners undergoing cellular confinement outside the Segregation Unit must be treated by Chaplains in the same way as those located within the Segregation Unit.

14 Healthcare
Outcome 14 Prisoners located in the Health Care Unit have access to a member of the Chaplaincy Team each day.

14.1 A member of the Chaplaincy Team must visit prisoners in the Health Care Centre daily. Not only is this a statutory requirement but it recognises that prisoners located in Health Care can often feel isolated or depressed. They are normally removed from the routine of prison life and excluded from accessing many activities.

14.2 The Chaplaincy visit must be recorded in:

  • The Health Care Centre Daily Diary

  • Prison-NOMIS case notes and individual prisoner history sheets

  • Chaplaincy Team Journal

  • ACCT document (if relevant)

14.3 Where a prisoner requests it there should be a facility for seeing an individual in private. This will be subject to a local Risk Assessment and by arrangement with the Health Care Manager.

14.4 Copies of the scriptures and religious artefacts of each faith listed in Part Two of the PSI must be readily available for those located in the Healthcare Centre.

14.5 Prisoners located outside the HCC but regarded as “in patients” for medical purposes should receive Chaplaincy provision in the same way as those located in the HCC.

14.6 Chaplains are able to visit prisoners located in an outside hospital as part of their pastoral care.

The visit should be made with the knowledge of Security and the Co-ordinating Chaplain. The visit should be recorded in the Chaplaincy Team Journal.

15 Discharge
Output 15 Every prisoner has access to a member of the Chaplaincy Team before discharge at the end of their sentence.

15.1 Discharge can be a stressful event. It may be after the completion of a long sentence or mark the beginning of an uncertain future.

15.2 The discharge process may be formal and a multidisciplinary board may be convened. The Chaplain should be included in the membership.

15.3 A discharge interview should be conducted on an individual basis. The Chaplain should make contact with each prisoner in the week before release to offer support and contact with outside agencies e.g. Community Chaplaincy or Faith Community. It may be appropriate to offer a Discharge Leaflet with information about faith and community support and resources.

15.4 Chaplaincy involvement in the discharge process should be in cooperation with the Offender Management Unit and Public Protection Department.

PSI 25/2011 Discharge

16 Serious Illness or Death in Custody
Output 16 Arrangements are in place to support prisoners directly or indirectly affected by a serious illness or death in custody
16.1 An effective system must be in place to notify the Co-ordinating Chaplain and appropriate Chaplain immediately of the serious illness; attempted suicide or death of a prisoner.

16.2 The Governor must ensure that Chaplains are included in the Contingency Plan so that the appropriate Chaplain can be contacted immediately. The appropriate Chaplain should be given access to the dead or dying prisoner to enable the religious ritual of their faith to be carried out.

16.3 In the case of serious illness and where the prisoner is located in an outside hospital the Chaplain may wish to contact the Hospital Chaplain.

16.4 The Chaplain may contact a prisoner’s family with the prisoners consent and with regard to security considerations and the wishes of the prisoner’s family.

16.5 The Chaplain should be available to speak to prisoners who have been involved in or are affected by the circumstances surrounding a sick or deceased prisoner. There may be a need for an immediate response and in some cases an ongoing need for care and support.

16.6 The Chaplain should work closely with the Care Team Leader and the Family Liaison Officer following a serious incident.

16.7 The Chaplain is responsible for conducting the funeral of the deceased when there are no other arrangements in place.

PSI Safer Custody in preparation

17 Serious Illness or Death of a Relative

Output 17 Arrangements are in place to support prisoners directly or indirectly affected by a serious illness or death of a relative.
17.1 An effective system must be in place to notify the Co-ordinating Chaplain and appropriate Chaplain immediately of the serious illness or death of a prisoner’s family member.

17.2 News of the serious illness or death of a family member should be conveyed to a prisoner as soon as practical. The person best placed to do this is often a Chaplain. When a Chaplain is unavailable and another member of staff is responsible for conveying the message the Chaplaincy must be informed immediately.

17.3 If the prisoner informs a member of staff that they have received news of the serious illness or death of a family member the Chaplain must be informed immediately.

17.4 When news is received from an outside party about the serious illness or death of a prisoner’s family member the accuracy of the information should always be confirmed before the prisoner is informed. When the news is received from the prisoner this should be confirmed immediately by a statutory external agency.

17.5 The Chaplain must inform staff prior to giving news of serious illness or death to a prisoner. Following receipt of the news by the prisoner the Chaplain must ensure it is recorded on Prison-NOMIS, in the Wing Observation Book and in the Chaplaincy Team Journal.

17.6 It may be appropriate to consider if the prisoner should be placed on ACCT.

17.7 The Chaplain should offer care and support to the prisoner following news of serious illness or the death of a family member.

18 Self Harm

Output 18 Arrangements are in place to support prisoners at risk of harm to self or others.
18.1 The Chaplaincy must be notified of all those for whom an ACCT document is opened, and when it is closed.

18.2 Notice of ACCT documents being opened or closed should be entered in the Chaplaincy Team Journal.

18.3 Where a visit and conversation has taken place between a Chaplain and a prisoner on an open ACCT this must be noted in the ACCT document.

18.4 A Chaplain should be invited to attend an ACCT review when there is pastoral contact between the Chaplain and prisoner.

18.5 A Chaplain may become an ACCT Assessor on completion of the appropriate training.
[Hyper-link: PSI Safer Custody in preparation]

19 Marriage and Civil Partnership
Output 19 Prisoners are able to marry or engage in a civil ceremony whilst in custody.
19.1 A system must be in place to allow a prisoner to enquire about marriage or civil partnership and to make a subsequent application. It is often Chaplaincy that has the lead role in processing a marriage application and arrangements for the ceremony. This will be done in cooperation with a designated manager.

19.2 Some Chaplains may wish to withdraw from processing marriage applications on religious grounds. This must be respected.

19.3 Where Chaplaincy has a significant role in the marriage application, pastoral support and advice is necessary and often welcome.

19.4 Chaplaincy will need to work with others, including:

Local Registrar

Local minister or priest

Security Department

Public Protection Manager

Sentence Planning Department

Designated Manager

in processing marriage applications.

19.5 It is recommended that Chaplaincy do not have any direct role in the processing of Civil Partnership applications in accordance with the relevant PSO. Chaplaincy may wish to offer pastoral support to the applicants.

19.6 The decision to allow a marriage or civil partnership to take place rests with the Governor.

PSO 4450 Marriage of Prisoners

PSO 4445 Civil Partnership Registration

[Examples of Application Forms and Guidelines for Marriage and Civil Partnership are in the Chaplaincy Handbook]

20 Official Prison Visitors Scheme
Output 20 Prisoners have access to the Official Prison Visitors (OPV) Scheme.

20.1 Each establishment should have an Official Prison Visitors Scheme.

The Official Prison Visitor Scheme is not faith based and a declaration of faith is not required of anyone wishing to become an Official Prison Visitor.

20.2 Official Prison Visitors (OPVs) are volunteers appointed by the Governor. They visit prison in order to offer friendship and support to prisoners. In considering an appointment the Governor must ensure the following criteria are met:

  • All applicants must be of good character.

  • Applicants must not hold employment or office liable to cause embarrassment or conflict in their relations with the prison, prisoners or staff.

  • Members of the Independent Monitoring Board are not eligible for appointment.

[An Application Form to become an Official Prison Visitor is at Appendix Four]

20.3 All categories of prisoner are eligible for an OPV regardless of whether they have visits from family or friends.

20.4 An OPV visiting a Category A prisoner will need to undergo additional security clearance to comply with the conditions of the Approved Visitor Scheme in accordance with the National Security Framework (NSF).

20.5 The prisoner receiving a visit from an OPV does not need to surrender a Visiting Order to receive a visit.

20.6 A Liaison Officer should be appointed to co-ordinate the work of the Official Prison Visitors Scheme in each establishment. Where Chaplaincy is responsible for the operation of the Official Prison Visitor Scheme there will be a nominated OPV Liaison Officer who is a member of the Chaplaincy Team.

20.7 The Liaison Officer in cooperation with the Security Department will be responsible for the recruitment; selection; training and deployment of suitable Official Prison Visitors. The final responsibility and issuing of the formal letter of appointment is made by the Governor.

20.8 The OPV Liaison Officer should produce clear local guidance on available visiting days and times; how the visit is to be booked; where the visit is to take place; how long the visit is expected to last; how many prisoners may be allocated to each OPV etc.

20.9 Where there is a local branch of the NAOPV, the OPV Liaison Officer will work with the Chair and Secretary in the operation of all aspects of the scheme.

20.10 Official Prison Visitors will be appointed and work in line with the ‘HM Prison Service Handbook for Official Prison Visitors’. A copy of this handbook will be sent, together with a Letter of Appointment, to all newly appointed Official Prison Visitors. This forms part of the OPV contract with HM Prison Service.

[A Letter of Appointment for Official Prison Visitors is at Appendix Five]

20.11 The OPV Liaison Officer will promote the scheme within the prison ensuring that all prisoners are aware of the scheme and the way they are able to access it.

20.12 The OPV Liaison Officer will attend branch meetings, where applicable, and ensure the smooth running of all aspects of the scheme. Where there is no NAOPV local branch the OPV Liaison Officer should maintain regular contact with OPVs to ensure the transfer of relevant information and to offer support and guidance.

20.13 The National Association of Official Prison Visitors is a registered charity which promotes and maintains Official Prison Visiting in establishments throughout the Prison Service. The NAOPV is approved and supported by the Ministry of Justice with whom regular meetings are held.

It is not a requirement of appointment that an Official Prison Visitor become a member of the NAOPV

PSI 16/2011 Providing Visits and Services to Visitors

PSI 15/2011 Management of security at visits]

Service Element: General Chaplaincy Services

21 Resettlement
Output 21 Prisoners have access to a Resettlement Chaplaincy Scheme.

21.1 “Community Chaplaincies work alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, offering practical, social, relational and spiritual support within prison, through the gate and out in the community”. (Community Chaplaincy Association Website)

21.2 Community Chaplaincy schemes vary in what they provide and the extent of the provision. Each project has established an approach that is suited to local needs. Schemes normally operate under an SLA.

21.3 The central point of contact is: The Community Chaplaincy Association. (Website: www.Community Chaplaincy.Org.UK)

The Community Chaplaincy Association (CCA) is an independent organisation that has been established to support, train and equip both emerging and established Community Chaplaincies in England and Wales.

    1. Models of Community Chaplaincy currently operating:

Prison Based: Chaplains are an integral part of the Chaplaincy Team with a specific role as Community Chaplain. They continue links with prisoners on local discharge release and refer others to support agencies elsewhere.

Community Based: Chaplains receive referrals from Chaplains and Resettlement Staff in a number of prisons. They visit prisoners as part of a pre-release scheme and continue support after release thereby enabling a holistic approach to take place.
21.5 Community Chaplaincy seeks to replicate the principles of Prison Service Chaplaincy in offering support to prisoners of all faiths and none. Some single faith schemes operate in providing support to prisoners of a single faith only. Single faith support groups may become associate members of the CCA but cannot become full members.
PSO 4190 Strategy for working with the Voluntary and Community Sector

General footnote to Part One

In cases of dispute about religious observance the advice of the following should be sought:

Chaplain of the faith concerned (the “Appropriate Chaplain”)

Co-ordinating Chaplain

Regional Chaplain

Chaplaincy HQ Team

Faith / Belief Advisers (listed in the PSI Part Two: Faith Annexes)

The word “Chaplain” is used in respect of all staff who have the endorsement by the relevant NOMS Faith Adviser and who are appointed formally as Chaplains. The appointment may be full-time; part-time; sessional or unremunerated.

“Appropriate Chaplain” refers to the Chaplain of the prisoner’s registered faith.

Appendix One – Notification of Change to Religious Registration
HMP / YOI…………………………………………………………………


We are required to keep a record of all changes to religious registration.

Please read the notes below carefully and if you wish to proceed then complete Section One over the page and return the form to Chaplaincy. We will inform the appropriate Chaplain and ensure your religious registration is changed.

A copy of the form will be returned to you when the change of registration is completed.


  1. You have the right to religious freedom and where possible, to practice your religion with others who understand and respect it.

  1. Changing religion is a major decision. It may affect you, your family, and other relationships inside the prison and outside in the community. The prison therefore has a duty to ensure that no-one changes their religious registration under pressure.

  1. It is important to respect the views of the Chaplain whose faith group you wish to join. Most Chaplains would expect you to know something about their religion before you became a member. Some religions require you to take instruction and/or take part in an initiation ceremony before they look upon you as a member.

A change of religious registration in itself does not make you a member of a particular faith group or church.

You may receive a visit from the Chaplain of the faith to which you are considering changing, to discuss your interest.

  1. If you wish to attend services or classes before you apply to change registration, please let us know on a normal application form. Attendance will be at the discretion of the Chaplain concerned.

Section One – about you
NAME ……………………....................…………………PRISON NUMBER …………………..
CURRENT RELIGIOUS REGISTRATION…………….................………………………………

INTENDED RELIGIOUS REGISTRATION……………................………………………………

Is this change due to incorrect registration at reception? YES / NO
Would you like to tell us your reason for seeking a change of religious registration?

Name.............................................Signed …………..…………………………… Date………

Section Two – Changing your religious registration



Print Name

Prison-NOMIS Amended

Copy placed on 2050

Copy placed on Chaplaincy File

Copy given to prisoner

Copy to Chaplain of applicants present religion/denomination

Copy to Chaplain of religion /denomination to which the applicant has changed

Copy to Catering Department

(If relevant)

Copy to Security Department

Appendix Two Summary from the publication “Places for Worship and Meditation in Prison” (Guidelines)


  • Places for worship and meditation are provided for all faiths and their religious use takes priority.

  • Such places are set aside in each establishment for prayer, meditation and worship.

  • Designated space should be available at all times for religious observances arising from bereavement, suffering and loss.

  • Governors consult with Chaplains whenever designated space is required by the prison for secular events.

  • Governors and Chaplains work together to preserve the sanctity of places set aside for worship and meditation.

  • Chaplaincy teams are encouraged to utilize fully these spaces.

  • Where necessary, and possible, flexible use should be made of worship and meditation areas in order to accommodate the needs of all religious traditions.

  • Places for worship and meditation are part of the shared life of faith communities in prison, and there should be no possessiveness or exclusive control of designated spaces.

  • There should be regular consultation on the use of designated spaces between all


  • When significant changes are envisaged regarding the use of designated areas for

corporate worship, local faith leaders should be consulted and agreement sought. (For Christians, the respective Bishops and Methodist District Chairman are the appropriate authorities). If agreement cannot be reached, help is available from Regional Chaplains and Chaplaincy HQ. The relevant Faith Adviser should be consulted as necessary.

  • All religious symbols should be treated with respect and dignity at all times.

  • Where the need arises, all religious symbols should be stored safely and securely.

September 2007

Appendix Three - Application Form and Risk Assessment

for attendance at corporate worship or meditation

(Only for use where prisoners are located outside normal attendance procedures)

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