Prison Chaplains May Be Cut from Texas Budget

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A $15 billion Texas state budget shortfall may mean eliminating paid chaplains currently ministering in prisons.

The Lone Star State's House approved cutting the nearly $5 million program, which is still being debated in the Senate.
The proposal to cut the program has been critized by religious groups and even some prison inmates.

In a letter signed by 30 female prisoners, the inmates pleaded for the chaplains to continue their work.
"Our chapel classes and chaplains are vital in our recovery and rehabilitation of sin and bad choices," the letter read.

Faith-based prison ministries echo the prisoners concerns.

"Frankly, the chaplains also minister to correctional officers that are going through those difficult life circumstances. And to take them out of the prisons would leave nobody there whose job it is to look after the spiritual atmosphere of the prison," said Pat Nolan, president of Justice Fellowship, the criminal justice reform division of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Nolan said chaplains also coordinate prison training and sign volunteers in for inmate visits.

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