Inmates are encouraged to maintain their religious ties. This institution extends to you the greatest amount of freedom for the opportunity to pursue individual religious beliefs and practices within the context of a secure, safe and orderly environment. Religious services are provided in the housing unit program rooms. There is a calendar in each unit which indicates religious services, programs, and activities. The chaplains are also available for other religious needs, such as short-term spiritual counseling, providing answers to religious questions, and to facilitate visits from clergy.
Although an inmate’s listed preference does not prohibit them from attending other religious services, it may restrict them from being able to check out some religious items, wear religious covering, gain approval for clergy visits, or participate in religion-specific observances. As examples, Muslim and Jewish inmates must have these preferences to participate in Ramadan or Passover. For cadre inmates, you will have your religious classification designated based on your religious preference on file as provided by you during intake screening. You may change your religious affiliation by submitting a cop out to the Religious Services Department. Frequent changing of religious preference to participate in special religious activities is prohibited. You are not required to profess a religious belief.
All religious books and materials are available through the Chapel library. All items are available by submitting an Inmate Request to Staff form to the chapel. We do not have available a list of our holdings, but inmates can simply request books for a particular religion, or by author, or by subject. In some cases, chaplains can provide print outs of appropriate religious materials from internet sites, when copyright policies permit. Religious materials cannot be sent in from home; however, they can be mailed to you directly from the publisher or a bookstore.
A Religious Diet program is available for individuals with religious dietary needs. You must contact the Chaplain for an interview to be approved for the Religious Diet Program. If an inmate wishes to participate in a ceremonial meal, a written request must be submitted to the Chaplain 21 days in advance of the date of the meal. If the inmate arrives to the institution after that time, the request will be considered on a case by case basis.
Requests for special observances of a recognized holy day must be requested in writing to the Chaplain 21 days in advance of the holy meal. Any religious group not already authorized to practice within the Bureau of Prisons must be reviewed and approved by the Western Regional Office and Central Office.
If inmate family members wish to notify an inmate of the hospitalization or death of a family member, they can contact the institution, and ask to speak with a chaplain. Chaplains are required to verify such reports by calling the hospital or funeral home. If the reporting family member has his information available when calling, the process of notification is much easier.
Any religious group not already authorized to practice within the Bureau of Prisons must be reviewed and approved by the Western Regional Office and Central Office.
Native American smudging is permitted in the unit recreation area. The designated time this activity is Tuesdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Unit Officer will provide participants with a smudge kit.
Pregnant inmates are welcome to contact the religious services department for pastoral counseling. If you have any special requests or concerns, feel free to ask, either by sending a request, or by having the unit officer contact, if the matter is urgent.