John GomezFollow




Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Scott Edgar


Prison, Pandemic, COVID-19, Chaplain, Ministry of Presence, Jails


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Chaplains usually provide pastoral care for inmates, staff members, and counseling for offenders and offenders’ families. Because of the pandemic, they have not provided adequate pastoral care and counseling in their respective facilities. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic have negatively impacted the chaplain’s ability to adequately provide pastoral care and counseling in most federal and state correctional institutions. The Department of Georgia Correctional facilities, particularly at the Baldwin State prison, has also experienced this decrease in pastoral care and counseling due to the pandemic. In the Georgia Department of Corrections, all visitations, including lawyers and clergy, have been suspended since March 2020. Due to these restrictions, the chaplain of the Baldwin State prison in Georgia cannot coordinate the various religious services representing the different religious groups housed in the facility. Secondly, the facility has seven dormitories that house one hundred and seven inmates (107) per dormitory, and the COVID-19 virus can spread exponentially due to this overcrowded condition. The pandemic has severely hindered the Baldwin State prison's chaplain's ability to provide this critical pastoral care and counseling for staff members and offenders. This body of research implications is discussed: the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the overcrowded conditions at this facility have impeded the Baldwin State chaplain's ability to adequately provide the pastoral care and counseling required for this facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. This lack of pastoral care and counseling results in moral issues and increased mental health challenges throughout the facility.