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Pastoral Care on Remand and the Role of the Prison Chaplain

DIXON, TIMOTHY,MARK (2022) Pastoral Care on Remand and the Role of the Prison Chaplain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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How do prisoners experience life on remand in England, and how do prison chaplains offer them pastoral care in this setting?

This thesis explores the question of how prison chaplains deliver pastoral care in a remand prison, and how this care is received and experienced by prisoners. With my own experience as a remand prison chaplain as a catalyst, I engage with literature around practical theological approaches to exploring prison experience, criminological studies of remand, and prison chaplaincy.

Using a grounded theory methodology, I explore the challenges of being on remand and the role of prison chaplains in meeting the needs of remandees, as well as chaplains’ own understandings of their vocation and ministry. Chaplains and prisoners were interviewed at three Local prisons in the North of England, and the major themes from these interviews explored thematically and theologically.

I discuss issues of trust building and the precarious nature of the prisoner-chaplain relationship, and the core theme of liminality in the role of the chaplain and the experience of the remand prisoner. Liminality is explored as a key theme linking the limbo-like nature of remand life, the challenges of navigating the prison environment, and the status of the chaplain on the thresholds of prison life and ministry.

The liminality of the chaplain is considered as a positive characteristic that enables a flexible ministry in a remand context. This leads to a theological analysis of remand chaplaincy through the lens of Walter Brueggemann’s concepts of the disorientation of lament and the notion of prophetic imagination. Remand chaplaincy is explored through the lens of a ministry of presence as ‘being with’ in conversation with the work of Samuel Wells.

The thesis concludes with new understandings of remand chaplaincy in light of the liminality of the role and of the remand prisoner, and considers the challenges of the practical and theological aspects of providing pastoral care in this complex context.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:Prison Chaplaincy; Prisons; Liminality; Chaplaincy; Remand; Brueggemann; Prophetic Imagination; Liminal; Practical Theology; Theology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 Nov 2022 13:51

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