Theological Reflection in Prison

The Distillery Season 3

Engaging in critical reflection is key to guiding the future of those incarcerated. In this episode, Charles Atkins discusses his calling to prison chaplaincy, and invites us to learn about the lives of incarcerated people, the activity of God on the inside, and the Church’s role to help people better understand how to respond to mass incarceration.

The Distillery is a podcast that explores the essential ingredients of book and research projects with experts in their field of study. Learn what motivates their work and why it matters for Christian theology and ministry.

Atkins Charles


Charles Edward Atkins, Jr. is an ordained minister and full-time Chaplain with the New Jersey Department of Corrections at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, where he teaches incarcerated youth and young adults methods of overcoming violence through the practical application of spiritual principles. Charles graduated from Haverford College (B.A.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div/M.A.), and Université de Montréal (Ph.D), where his doctoral research focused on spiritual renewal of consciousness while incarcerated. He organized an international conference on religious education in prisons and received funding to research religious education programs in prisons around the United States. His work in prisons has been featured by the World Vision Report and in Haverford College Alumni magazine. He was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award by the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work as host and narrator of the American Public Television series called “Beyond Theology.” Trilingual in English, French and Spanish, Charles is working on a book based on his research. He and his wife, Margaret, have four children—Ashleigh, Jasmine, Nicholas and Ezekiel.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Chaplain at the Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Khristi Adams, Class of 2008

“At Princeton, we had precept groups—we’d engage text and debate. That gave me confidence to have those conversations anywhere.”