Kosciusko County interim Sheriff Rocky Goshert (L) and jail chaplain John Lowe are implementing training for people who want to participate in ministry at the county jail.
Kosciusko County interim Sheriff Rocky Goshert (L) and jail chaplain John Lowe are implementing training for people who want to participate in ministry at the county jail.
Like every other policy and procedure at the Kosciusko County Jail, the processes regarding ministry are being updated, with a closer look at security and integrity while not restricting ministry.

Interim Sheriff Rocky Goshert has held discussions with jail chaplain John Lowe on what needs to be done and how to implement the plan. The centerpiece of the changes is required informational training for all ministers who plan to work in the jail.

“We’re tightening up all the policies and procedures in the jail,” Goshert said. “We aren’t singling out ministry in any way. But when we evaluated everything in the jail, we found a lot of policies and procedures that simply weren’t being followed. So clearly we need to tighten things up.”

Lowe, who is also the founding pastor at New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw and an officer with the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association, sat down with Goshert to find out the specific goals relating to ministry. The pastor has more than 25 years of jail ministry experience, mostly at Westville Correctional Facility.

Lowe said he doesn’t want the sheriff or his staff to have any concerns about ministers or their safety while at the jail.

“They should never have to have a second thought about where someone is in the jail, and what they’re up to,” Lowe said. “So we’re having the training classes to clear the air, and set the standards for everyone.

“This way, no one can come to the jail and say, ‘I didn’t know,’ and the standards will be the same for everybody. If anyone has questions relating to jail ministry, they can call me and not bother Rocky or his people.”

The first training sessions will be Jan. 11 and 12, but only one six-hour session is required. Both run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Life, 744 S. CR 325E, and the $60 fee includes lunch and a photo identification card specific to jail ministry. Registration deadline for either session is Jan. 4, and more training sessions will be held, probably on a quarterly basis.

“We need people to understand: If they don’t have their ID, they can’t get in to the jail,” Lowe said.

Attendees will need to provide the ministry name and location, as well as credentials such as evidence of ordination or licensing. If neither is available, a letter on church ministry letterhead granting authority for you to represent your church can be used.

The training will be in addition to, not a substitute for, Prison Rape Elimination Act training provided by the jail. Proof of completion of PREA training will be needed to obtain the jail credential.

Lowe said every effort has been made to notify area ministers, including a letter-writing campaign by the GWMA, to ensure no one is excluded from the opportunity. But at some point, the plan has to be implemented and the standard enforced if it’s ever going to have any real effect, he said.

Goshert and Lowe said that after the first of the year, the credential with photo will be required to enter the jail.

“No ID, no entry. It’s really going to be just that simple,” Lowe said. “This isn’t to try and prevent anybody from getting in, but it’s to help protect everybody: the jail staff, the ministers, the inmates, everybody.”

Questions regarding the training program can be directed to Lowe at 574-269-5851 or office@ihavenewlife.com.