HINDA Institute is here to help Illinois Jewish inmates, ex-offenders, and their families navigate the criminal justice system and re-entry to society, with faith, community, and dignity.  We are an official Jewish chaplaincy program for the Illinois correctional system, supporting families and helping ex-offenders become productive members of society. 

We help make society safer for everyone by showing people how to turn their lives around.

Creating a safer society. HINDA conveys inspiration, wisdom, morality, and common sense.  We also provide ex-offenders with a lifeline of hope and concern, and seek to keep families together by providing support and compassion to family members. The majority of HINDA participants re-enter society and do not return to prison. 

We also work especially hard to help children — who suffer through no fault of their own — maintain their self-respect and enjoy happy childhood experiences.

Helping spouses and children. Families are deeply affected by an incarceration. Besides the immediate effects, children who do not receive helpful intervention are statistically likely to themselves get into trouble with law. Help us break this cycle for children and families with counseling, sincere, personal interaction, and generous scholarships to Jewish camp. ​


HINDA encourages healthier, more mature behavior based on age-old Jewish values and common sense.  

Encouraging strong Jewish values. Jewish affiliation and education is a very good way to keep people doing the right thing. “People with a strong Jewish education are very unlikely to need our services,” Rabbi Scheiman says. “We share the Jewish way of thinking with our prisoners as a way to strengthen them for their time in prison and for the future.”


Chaplain Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman of the Jewish Prisoners Assistance Foundation has been doing his work quietly and effectively since 1980. Criss-crossing the state in a rented automobile, visiting prisoners, counseling families, and influencing prisoners to think deeply about the meaning of their lives and their ability to become better people. From the beginning of HINDA, Rabbi Scheiman set a goal that EVERY Jewish prisoner in the State of Illinois be visited on a monthly basis. He checks in with ex-prisoners before every major holiday. He continually inspires them to grow and transform. His belief in the power of personal transformation inspires many to make changes in their lives for the better, some small, some in a major way.

The Scheiman sons: Rabbi Schneur, Rabbi Mendel, and Rabbi Chaim, were brought up in this family dedicated to this mission, and as adults, they have responded with the same dedication and enthusiasm, and the same essential commitment to the welfare of every Jewish person, wherever he or she might be found. Together with their wives and families, they reach out to Illinois Jewish inmates, their families, implementing holiday programs, offering Jewish study opportunities, solving problems whenever they can, and, like the senior Rabbi Scheiman, visiting the far-flung correctional institutions across the state and county.

JPAF also relies on the participation of everyday people who want to make a difference. Our volunteers are men and women who set aside a day a month to visit their fellow Jews in a correctional facility near them, bringing matzos for Passover, siddurim and books, and forming a healthy link with a community representing strong Jewish values. For some of the inmates, this is the first contact they may have had with the organized Jewish community!

Consider volunteering. We need volunteers to write letters of encouragement, visit prisoners, deliver holiday packages, and if you’re a legal professional or social worker, to offer legal aid or help for families.


At least 70% of the individuals on our rolls do not return to prison. That’s the reciprocal of the national average for serious crime. And those who remain involved and in contact with the HINDA Institute and the rabbi after re-entry continue to be not only arrest-free, but also crime-free.

Please contact us today! Help today with a donation of any amount. Please help fund our efforts to heal individuals and create a safer society for us all. Click the donate button above right.