Metro Transitional Center-MTC: To provide pastoral care and counseling, worship, and ministry for inmates and staff at a 229-bed work release center for female offenders.
Helms: To provide pastoral care and counseling, worship, and ministry for staff and up to 40 pregnant female offenders and up to 25 critically ill male offenders.
About the Site:
This site requires a TB test, a background check, and a training session about security issues at the two facilities. Depending on the results of the background check, fingerprinting may also be required. (The fingerprint process will cost $12.90.)
In addition to the required criminal background check Candler requires of all admitted students, this site requires a criminal background check administered by the Georgia Department of Corrections. Students with any criminal conviction should not register for this site.
This site is actually two small correctional facilities on adjacent grounds. MTC is a 229-bed female work release center for women who are within 6 to 24 months of release from prison. Helms Facility is a co-ed correctional facility that houses all of the pregnant female offenders in the state of Georgia (20 to 40 on average). It also houses up to 25 male offenders who are experiencing critical and life-threatening illnesses.
The ministry at MTC will focus on assisting the women with re-entry issues as they prepare to return to society. The ministry at Helms Facility will focus on pastoral care issues of life-threatening illnesses, and death and dying. The ministry also provides support and pastoral care to pregnant offenders, most of whom will be separated from their children soon after birth. Ministry in both facilities also provides pastoral care to staff.
Clinical Pastoral Education is also a part of this ministry setting.
Demographics of female inmates in Georgia:
Everyone will serve their hours on Wednesdays from 10:00 to 2:00 p.m.
A Student's Perspective:
"I would have never chosen this site and would have missed out on one of the most valuable experiences of my Christian life. Part of our responsibility as Christians and as ministers is to visit those who are in prison.
The site is conveniently located about 20 minutes from campus. I drove to the site each day. There is also a bus route the drops you off right in near the prison. I never took it myself. The site supervisor, Chaplain Susan Bishop, is a saint! She selflessly serves at the prison and devotes much of her time to the work there. Chaplain Bishop is one of the most inspirational, loving, caring, and outstanding ministers you will likely ever meet.
I was very fortunate to be stationed in the infirmary at the prison. This gave me multiple experiences all at once. I was in a hospital, a prison, a counseling center, a mental hospital, and a church all at once. I have dealt with things like adoption, death of an unborn child, children being taken by DFCS, deaths of family members, terminal illnesses, loss of limbs, births of babies while incarcerated and then being separated, divorce, guilt of prisoners, etc. I got to preach in the prison and watch these women who have seemingly lost everything still find the desire to worship God. I am forever a prison chaplain now. Even when I graduate and go on to pastor, I will still be a prison chaplain. It never leaves you."