A civil and ecclesiastical union? The development of prison chaplaincy in Aotearoa-New Zealand

Mansill, Douglas B
Chile, Love
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

New Zealand prisons were a colonial construct established by early colonial administrations to deal with criminal behaviour occurring at the time of European settlement. Like the prison system, prison chaplaincy also had its origins in colonial experiences from the United Kingdom where chaplains were employed to meet the spiritual needs of those in institutions such as schools, hospitals, colleges, the military and legations. This thesis addressed the question of how the partnership between Church and State administrators in New Zealand for the provision of chaplaincy services developed between 1840 and 2006. Four phases were identified in the evolution of prison chaplaincy: phase one 1840-to-1950, characterised by ad hoc arrangements between clergy and local prison management; phase two 1951-to-1989 when Secretary for Justice Samuel Barnett established a formal relationship with the National Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church to provide chaplains for penal institutions; phase three identified as ‘prisons in change’ 1990-1999, when the Interim Chaplaincy Advisory Board and Prison Chaplaincy Advisory Board worked in tandem with the Departments of Justice and Corrections to administer the Prison Chaplaincy Service, arising from the recommendations of the Roper and Perry Reports; and phase four 2000-to-2006, a period when the Prison Chaplaincy Service of Aotearoa New Zealand was contracted to the Department of Corrections to employ prison chaplains. The research adopted a multi-faceted approach, consisting of phenomenology, ethno-methodology and hermeneutics to understand attitudes and experiences of key players and institutions in the evolution of Prison Chaplaincy. Data was collected through interviews of key informants, critical evaluation of published and unpublished material in public and private collections. The study identified six key factors that influenced the development of Prison Chaplaincy in New Zealand. These were: the nature of the Church-State interface, the impact of biculturalism, the influence of theological and ecclesiastical trends, and the impact of inter-church politics, the influence of socio economic trends and developments, and changes in Government policy. It also found that while there were tensions, the Church-State partnership had positive benefits for the spiritual outcomes for prisoners.

Religion and penal system , Government and Christianity , Multi-faceted methodology , Capital punishment , Jail, incarceration, gaol, penitentiary , Church and society
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