Supporting people in the justice system

During what is often the lowest point of their lives, inmates and their loved ones on the outside can experience despair, loneliness and anger as they grapple with separation and isolation while navigating the challenges of the criminal justice system. Our UnitingCare Prison Ministry is here for you.

We strive to make a positive change by providing hope, stability and empathy to improve mental health for the entire family, as well as work towards rehabilitation for a better life following release from prison.

We support prisoners and their families at 15 correctional centres across Queensland – from Palen Creek in the south to Lotus Glen in the far north – by offering a range of services, including:

  • Non-denominational pastoral care for inmates of all cultures, religions and ethnicities.
  • Chaplaincy-run, faith-based services.
  • Bible studies.
  • Emergency relief and food hampers.
  • Post-release advocacy.
  • Referrals to other support and community organisations.

How does Prison Ministry help?

  • Chaplaincy

    Supporting the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of people in custody is at the heart of our chaplaincy service. Our trained volunteer chaplains offer non-denominational pastoral care and faith-based services to support prisoners of all backgrounds, cultures and religions.

    Coming from a place of compassion and acceptance, chaplains become companions who provide support and an empathic ear, ensuring inmates feel comfortable in opening up about their struggles and fears. Through regular visits, they become a familiar face and confidant for our prisoners who just want someone to talk to and connect with.

    Chaplains help prisoners on their individual spiritual or religious journey, free from judgement and pressure to follow a particular belief system.

    We provide bibles and other devotional material and books. Chaplains can refer inmates to counselling and help organise memorial services if a prisoner dies in custody.

    We offer pastoral care services to First Nations inmates by First Nations Chaplains who understand the importance of respecting traditional knowledge, culture and language.

  • Food hampers

    We provide food hampers and other practical items, such as toiletries and bedding, to families experiencing financial hardship while their loved one is in prison, as well as to offenders who are settling back into the community after their release.

    How to apply for food hampers

    People can receive food hampers by attending our Chermside office at 766 Gympie Rd, Chermside, between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday. You will need to fill in a simple form asking for your contact details.

    How to donate

    We are always in need of non-perishable items for our food hampers, such as:

    • Long life milk.
    • Tinned vegetables (corn, tomatoes, chickpeas, four-bean mix).
    • Dry pasta rice (dry or microwave pouches).
    • Pasta sauce.
    • Tinned fish (tuna, salmon or sardines).
    • Taco, enchilada or burrito kits.
    • Oats.
    • Weet-bix.
    • Soup pouches.
    • Simmer sauces (curry or Pad Thai).
    • Tinned fruit (no added sugar).
    • Meal kits.
    • Cruskits.
    • Rice noodles.

    Bedding, Christmas gifts and unopened toiletries (roll-on deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, makeup and feminine hygiene products) can be donated.

    Items can be dropped at our Brisbane office, at 766 Gympie Road, Chermside, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Referral service

    Our chaplains can refer prisoners and their families to other UnitingCare support services and community organisations that can help with counselling, post-release care, financial hardship and much more. Call Prison Ministry on 07 3867 2550 to find out more.

UnitingCare Prison Chaplain Ray Scarlett stands in front of an image of a tall ship.
Spreading hope
Former educator Ray explains how he and his fellow volunteer prison chaplains are making a difference within correctional centres across Queensland through empathy and support.

Volunteer with Prison Ministry

We are looking for volunteer prison chaplains who are kind, open-minded and want to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people. You should have:

  • A mature faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Active listening skills.
  • Knowledge of pastoral care.
  • Work well in an ecumenical team environment.
  • Training or willingness to train in pastoral care.

Duties include:

  • Provide pastoral care one day a week in a correctional centre.
  • Run Sunday Christian worship services as part of a six-week roster.
  • Refer inmates to post-release service providers.
  • Assist with incidents or deaths in custody.
  • Attend team meetings and online training, including a three-day session in Brisbane every year.

To apply to become a volunteer please fill out an application form on our Volunteer Portal.

Volunteer today

Donate to Prison Ministry

We rely on financial donations to grow the service, so we can help more prisoners move away from negative influences, make better decisions and reduce reoffending.

Donate today

Enquire now

UnitingCare’s Prison Ministry is here for you. For more information on any of our services, please call 07 3867 2552 or complete the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.