Prison System Hires First Woman Chaplain

By  | 

The Rev. Jane Foraker-Thompson, an ordained Episcopal priest, has become the first woman hired as supervising chaplain for Nevada's prison system.

Foraker-Thompson has done religious volunteer work for years in Nevada prisons and is known as "Rev. Jane" by inmates. She'll coordinate religious services offered by three other chaplains and more than 400 volunteers to more than 10,000 inmates in prisons and camps statewide.

Foraker-Thompson also is president of the Religious Alliance in Nevada, an organization for clergy and members of various faith communities.

Ordained in 1999, she started seminary studies in 1994 after a long career as a criminal justice planner in New Mexico and college professor in Idaho. She holds bachelors and masters degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate from Stanford.

Foraker-Thompson replaces the Rev. James Kelly, a Catholic priest who left the prison system earlier this year after being named in a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse while serving years earlier at Boys Town in Omaha, Neb.

Kelly, who left Boys Town in 1983, has adamantly denied the allegations and has said he's considering a lawsuit to clear his name. He has said the lawsuit ruined his life, is without merit and is motivated by greed.