Become a Volunteer!
Volunteering in the
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections provides a fulfilling opportunity for
community citizens to change the lives of inmates in a positive manner. In turn, the lives of community citizens are
enriched as well.
The department recognizes that
volunteers provide a vital role in helping the department mission to enhance
public safety by providing educational and treatment services to inmates.
Listen to what inmates have
said about those who volunteer in department facilities:
”Volunteers show us that we are not forgotten.” - James
“Volunteers help me grow in faith.” – Tina
“Volunteers tell us we are important and have purpose and
are destined to become a ‘somebody.’” – Gaskin
“Volunteers have become our teachers, mentors, advisors,
and most of all our friends.” – Denise
“Volunteers are a shining light in our darkness.” - John
Most of the time, by simply
“showing up” volunteers demonstrate that someone in their community cares about
their well-being. By modeling positive
relationships to prison authorities and each other, volunteers model what it
means to live in healthy relationships. Through faithful attendance, volunteers
demonstrate what it means to be responsible and accountable community citizens. Finally, by giving of themselves, volunteers
demonstrate that the best gift to give to others is their time.
department, volunteers serve in a number of areas that address inmate needs.
Alcohol and Other Drugs (AA, NA)
Alternative to Violence Programs
Art, Sewing and Quilting Classes
Dog Training Programs
Education and Tutoring
Long-Term Offender Groups
For those interested in volunteering
in prison, or looking for further information, contact the Volunteer
Coordinator at the respective facility where you are interested in applying.
get started volunteering
the following documents to the Volunteer Coordinator:
3. Each Volunteer
Application will be processed and a background check completed. The Volunteer Coordinator will contact you
once this process is complete.
approved as a volunteer, you will:
required to submit documentation that you have a current, valid Mantoux test
(Tuberculin Skin Test) result at the time you begin to volunteer (this may be
done for free at any correctional facility, with arrangements made through the
asked to attend a Security Orientation to become more familiar with Department
rules, operations, and expectations of your role and where you will have the
opportunity to ask questions.
a Photo ID taken and be enrolled in the Biometrics system
are recognized annually by their institutions and each institution selects and
recognizes a Volunteer of Year that is held at the Elizabethtown Training
Frequently Asked Questions
volunteer at multiple facilities?
Yes. If an approved volunteer at
one facility wishes to volunteer in more than one facility, he/she must first
secure an invitation from each additional facility’s Volunteer Coordinator to
serve. The volunteer will provide a copy of his/her completed Emergency Notification
and Security Consent Form to the Volunteer Coordinator at each new facility in
which he/she will volunteer.
should I volunteer in corrections?
Most inmates know their poor
choices have resulted in their being incarcerated. But they are also under the impression that
their families and the community have written them off as being “failures and
losers.” By their presence, community
volunteers provide invaluable hope to inmates who must come to terms with their
incarceration and try to piece their lives back together again. In many cases,
volunteers discover that they receive so much more than they give when they
offer their services relating to inmates.
volunteers have to receive so much training and submit so much paperwork?
The Department wants
to ensure the safety of all those who are in its facilities, including inmates,
staff, visitors and volunteers. Toward
that end, the Department wants all volunteers to be prepared for situations
they might encounter in case of an emergency.
Additionally, like most governmental agencies, documentation is the
means by which the Department can demonstrate volunteers have been thoroughly
screened and trained before they begin their service.
What makes a volunteer in a correctional facility successful?
volunteer is one who readily asks questions to enhance their understanding and
appreciation of how the Department operates and cares for the needs of so many
inmates. A successful volunteer is
willing to learn from those who have preceded the volunteer, who is faithful
when scheduled, never forgets his/her surroundings and offers helpful feedback to
the institution regarding their volunteer experience.
Can I be suspended or terminated from volunteering?
be suspended or terminated from service for rule violations, as violating rules
of the Department are viewed as a critical security breach. For this reason, it is critical that volunteers:
adhere to all Department rules, never assume that rules were intended for
others and not themselves, and always ask for permission first for and receive
approval to do anything or bring anything into the prison.