The Ministry of Justice is employing Pagans to become prison chaplains to give prisoners “religious care” with salaries reportedly up to £30,000 a year.

The job holder will provide for the religious care of prisoners and staff in the Pagan faith tradition and appropriate pastoral care for all irrespective of faith or tradition,” a job advert reads for a job covering Dartmoor, Channings Wood, and Exeter prisons states. 

Anyone that applies for this job must “lead open ritual, officiate in Rites of Passage, and run workshops for mixed Pagan traditions within the prison system” and of course must be recommended or endorsed by the ‘Pagan faith community’. Prison Service Pagan Faith Adviser must deem them acceptable.

The jobs that have been advertised on the Ministry of Justice site for the roles of Pagan Chaplaincy , for reportedly up to  35 prisons, the salaries seem to range from  £25,920 to £29,176 each year. Similar to a prison guards wage packet. They are for  full, part-time, and job shares. The wage could even include a 17 per cent “unsocial hours” bonus payment.

 

 

Some of the prisons that will get extra faith services are: 

  • The very old, Victorian HM Prison Winchester, which was said to be “teetering on the edge of a major incident” after an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report found a swell in self-harming, drug use, and violence amongst prisoners and that the prison was “understaffed” with “inadequate facilities”.

  • HM Prison Whitemoor, which was reported by The Times as facing major issues with Islamic Radicalism in 2015 where “prisoners with extremist views… have threatened violence towards prisoners that weren’t Muslim. Others are suspected of near enough forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam.”

  • HMP Dartmoor, which was reported to be facing problems with limited staff staff  and they have a ‘spice’ drug problem plaguing many prisoners.

  • Lastly HMP Frankland, which opened an expensive ‘jihadi’ separate wing in July for Islamic Radical prisoners, like hate preacher Anjem Choudary and British soldier Lee Rigby’s murderer Michael Adebolajo.

 

Breitbart London made a very negative article regarding Pagan prison chaplains and whilst I am certainly no enemy of Breitbart or their work I think they have got it wrong on this occasion.

We have Chaplains for near every third-world faith in prisons for prisoners but there isn’t much going for Pagan prisoners in terms of spiritual guidance, I do agree with the argument it’s a waste of tax-payers money but if we are offering chaplains to foreign faiths why should it be a problem to offer similar treatment to an indigenous religion in the UK and Europe that predates Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and many more?

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