Elimination of Protestant Chaplain at Cowansville Prison

29 Mar, 2018

A chaplain extends a hand to an inmate

In light of recent changes at Cowansville Institution concerning the delivery of English-language
Chaplaincy and other services, Communitas forwards the following letter from Rev. Tim Smart.
As has been highlighted in recent national coverage, this letter comes in the context of
increasing complaints regarding the availability of chaplaincy resources, which play an
important role in both meeting prisoners’ spiritual needs as well as ensuring public safety
through overall health and rehabilitation.

Under the banner of Protestant Chaplain, excellent activities have occurred for many years at
Cowansville Prison. Outside volunteers have connected with inmates through Bible Study,
Literacy Classes and a Book Club. Many English inmates have found it encouraging to engage
with a Chaplain and volunteers who speak their language. (About 25% of Cowansville inmates
claim English as their first language.)

Recently, CSC has decided that this Chaplaincy and these volunteers are no longer needed in
Cowansville Prison. In an email from Orlando Florida, Jon Tate, Director of Operations and
Facility Management for Bridges International wrote, “While we understand that (you) have
rendered services at the Cowansville location for an extended period of time, Corrections
Services Canada has determined that those resources are no longer required at the Cowansville
location.”

Volunteers have written email letters of concern and support for this ministry to Bridges of
Canada and to CSC Chaplaincy. While the local administration of Cowansville Prison remains
supportive of this ministry, we wait to see if CSC Chaplaincy and Bridges will change their
minds.

The Rev. Tim Smart

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1 Comment

  1. March 30, 2018

    The damage that Steven Harper’s government did on the Justice file is still being perpetuated …
    The Liberal Government needs to step up its actions to roll back the damaging policies related to the criminal justice system.

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