Jesuit Refugee Service Chaplains Train at Detention Center in L.A.
Tags: Chaplains, Jesuit, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, JRS, Refugee
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA offered training to six chaplains from detention centers across the United States during a three-day meeting in Los Angeles this summer. JRS/USA based the training on knowledge gained via our long years of service to detainees in our Detention Chaplaincy Program.
The JRS/USA chaplaincy programs provide pastoral and religious assistance to meet the needs of non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) both in four U.S. federal detention centers located in California, Texas, Arizona and New York, and in a Los Angeles County detention center. These programs enable people of all faiths to have access to pastoral care within their faith tradition.
The main purpose of the training was to familiarize the chaplains with the religious standards devised by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch. ICE standards are used throughout the federal detention system.
“I think this training is important so that we all know what the ground rules are as far as ICE is concerned. I will take a lot back,” said Hasan Hakeem, Chaplain at Kenosha County Detention Center in Wisconsin.
Chaplains in detention centers are similar to chaplains in the military, in that they are chaplains for everyone in the facility — inmates and guards alike — regardless of their religion. It is necessary for chaplains to learn about the spiritual needs of all those whom they serve so they can see that those needs are met.
Despite being from various locations across the country, the chaplains had much in common. “We’re a collection of people who care about the basic needs and rights of people inside of detention (centers). A lot of the people (in detention) are in the midst of significant transition or crises in their life and a lot of people in the U.S. simply do not know that there are more than 250 different detention facilities across the country. These are America’s forgotten people, who need people from the outside know that they are cared for, that they are valued despite being in detention,” said Rev. David Fraccaro, who coordinates the National Detention Visitation Network, a group of 18 to 21 different visitation programs around the country.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes that ensuring detainee access to a Religious Service Program (RSP) is crucially important because detainees have a fundamental right to freedom and exercise of religion.
“We chaplains are together here to insure that inside of detention — which can be a very cold and lonely existence — people still have the freedom to hang on to what is oftentimes the most meaningful part of their life, beyond family, and that is their faith. Faith oftentimes brings hope. Faith brings resilience. Faith brings the strength to survive through the often isolating and difficult experience of detention,” said Rev. Fraccaro.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA chaplaincy programs provide pastoral and religious assistance to meet the needs of non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security in U.S. federal detention centers and the Los Angeles County detention center in Mira Loma.
[Jesuit Refugee Service / USA]