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Clearing the way for the chaplain
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Erik Kieken, warden of the jail, said it is standard for the proposal request to come up, stating the services being offered right now - by the Diocese of the Mackenzie - are set to expire on March 31.
"It's a contractual relationship we have with the various outfits that are out there right now," he said.
Kieken said the response deadline for tenders has been extended until April 30, adding the contract usually goes from year to year.
Yellowknifer recently reported the jail's library had been emptied, and hundreds of books stamped "Yellowknife Corrections" wound up at the dump.
The reason given for the move was that the room was needed for the chaplain.
Kieken said the space had always been a chaplain's office.
"It was the chaplain's office when I came here in 2004," said Kieken. "It always was that way."
Kieken said basic pastoral services involve one-on-one inmate counselling, Bible study and Bible correspondence, and also delivering religious services over the course of the year, including Sunday services and special events like Easter and Christmas.
The jail warden said the office started to serve as a collection and storing site for books the jail was receiving from donations. As books built up, the chaplain ran out of room to give his sessions.
"The chaplain ended up having no space for that," said Kieken.
In the end, he said, it was decided the space would better serve inmates by converting it back into an office.
Kieken told Yellowknifer there were still about 3,000 books in the different living areas - or "pods" - in the facility.