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Old structures, new faces: The presence of Wicca and Neopaganism in canadian prison Chaplaincies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a glimpse of the relationships between Wiccan chaplaincy workers and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Pagan volunteers and employees, mostly Wiccans, form part of the chaplaincy teams. Isolation, work and contemplation were judged as the most efficient way to reform a delinquent. The increasing numbers of prison inmates with a religious identity other than Christian brought about a modification in chaplaincy services. Chaplaincy work takes time and energy. Chaplains believe that it can have a beneficial effect on the inmates and will help in social readaptation and the society in general. Their work has an immediate and local impact, as well as far-reaching consequences. Relationships between inmates, chaplains and administration are positive as the shifting and diverse religious needs of prisoners are addressed. Though the traditional Christian faiths are still present, new faces are appearing within chaplaincy teams, reflecting a Canadian society which is religiously diverse.

Keywords: Correctional Service of Canada (CSC); non-Christian groups; pagan; prison system; Wiccan chaplaincy workers



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