Profile

Bishops’ Prisons Adviser

Fr Roger Reader, Bishops' Prisons Advisor

Fr Roger Reader is the Bishops’ Prisons Adviser. Fr Reader, Catholic Chaplain to HM Prison Feltham, succeeded Monsignor Malachy Keegan in 2013. 

Monsignor Keegan and Bishop Terence Brain of Salford, the former Bishop for Prisons, were tasked with building the initial foundations for this role, with a view to handing on the baton to a new Bishop and a new Chaplain once the foundations were firmly in place.

Bishop Richard Moth was appointed as the Bishop for Prisons in late 2012 and Fr Roger Reader began his role on 1 September 2013.

There are presently a record number of Catholic prison chaplains, some 220, working in 142 prisons. The Catholic Bishops' Prisons Adviser is responsible for the day to day provision of Catholic Sacramental and Pastoral care in prisons. He serves as a bridge between the Bishops’ Conference and Prison Chaplaincy Headquarters; he deals specifically with the recruitment and appointment of Catholic chaplains and offers support for Catholic chaplains and oversight of their work. He is the key prison liaison person for the bishops and supports the resettlement of offenders. He also speaks into the national debate on how the Catholic community looks at issues of crime, justice, punishment and mercy.

Fr Roger Reader is a priest of the Diocese of Westminster. He was ordained in 1995 and has worked full time in prisons since 1998, first as chaplain at HM Prison Whitemoor and then for 12 years at HM Prison Feltham. He is a former Anglican and worked part-time for six years at HM Prison Pentonville during his nine years as an Anglican clergyman.

In his first posting as a Assistant Priest in New Southgate for the Diocese of Westminster, he asked whether he could return to prison ministry and permission was given by the then Cardinal Basil Hume.

Fr Reader says:

“It's a great privilege to be able to proclaim the Gospel of hope in places which seem without hope. I believe that an important part of this role is to give confidence to those who work in prisons as chaplains, as volunteers, as staff and to give confidence to those who reside in prisons that they are never far from the love of God. In my work with prisoners, I have experienced the real mercy and love of God."

Contact

Email Fr Roger Reader