What prompted the researcher to embark on this study was that not much is known about the chaplaincy in the South African Department of Correctional Services. This concept leads to the question which forms the basis for the research study, namely; Are the chaplains doing what they are supposed to be doing? The role of chaplains in DCS is diminished to praying and preaching, thereby, neglecting all the pastoral care issues which are important to the whole DCS community.
One of the findings is that the pastoral chaplains cannot be good managerial chaplains and the managerial chaplains cannot be good pastoral chaplains and the DCS context needs the two elements. Another finding is that in terms of pastoral skills chaplains are under-utilised and many factors are contributing to that like the structural challenges where chaplains are not stationed within the premises of the correctional centre.
The study presents the historical background of the chaplaincy in the South African Department of Correctional Services which is also necessary to help the spiritual care directorate to move ahead with many issues affecting the chaplaincy after 1994. It also provides solid insights as well as poignant anecdotal snapshots of what it is really like to be a chaplain in the DCS. The approach of using triangulation in sampling, where the researcher engaged the chaplains, correctional officials and the inmates, allowed the researcher to give different perspectives of the chaplains work.
The study uses the pastoral approach of Gerkin at the beginning and specifically, in the second chapter to help in teasing out information and setting the theoretical framework of the study. After the analysis of the data, using the grounded theory, it becomes clear that there is a plethora of challenges facing the chaplaincy in the DCS. The study then culminates with futuristic views where the integration of ethnography is suggested to take the chaplaincy in a new direction. Various ways are explored as to how the chaplaincy can elevate its functions involving the community in the rehabilitation which is mostly centre based and reintegration which is community based. Recommendations are made to gear the chaplaincy for a new era and hopefully some ideas will be translated into action.