Prison and life in prison have become a popular form of entertainment in recent years, thanks to reality TV programs, documentary series about real crimes and TV programs about the script. But even if you’ve seen all the episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, it doesn’t mean you understand what life behind bars really is like, which really leads many people to prison, and how prison can offer both pain and help for the prisoner.
As with everything in life, whether it’s business, home, school, church, hospital, prison or anywhere else with four walls, volunteers can play a huge role in the daily lives of real people.
Volunteering in prison can be even more important than most other places, because what they do every day can have consequences they never knew were possible.
While ending up in prison is not a goal for most people, it is a place that many volunteers go to try to make a difference.
Can I Volunteer in a Federal Prison?
There are many opportunities to volunteer in the federal prison system. Many need volunteers to help prisoners begin to adapt to life outside prison walls and give them professional advice to help them find work. This is important because they can give advice to prisoners and teach them different skills needed to succeed, including academic skills, social care, mental health, recreation, character and everyday life.
Can I Volunteer in a State Prison?
Most states have volunteer programs in the prison system. As in federal prisons, state institutions have opportunities for education, finding work, mental health, treatment of addiction and family problems.
Generally speaking, if you prefer, you can work as a volunteer in one or more institutions. However, before you go to prison, you must be trained in the personal and safety of prisoners and staff.
Don’t be alarmed, though. Prisoners treat volunteers better than anyone else in prison, no matter who they are or where they come from. Training is important because you must know what to expect when working with prisoners and be prepared for emergencies.
How do Volunteers Help Prisoners?
When volunteers go to prison, they give the prisoners the confidence that they can get their lives back on track. This can change a prisoner’s life and help them understand that it is not a failure.
Prisoners know they have done something wrong, but when volunteers come to help them manage their lives, make better decisions, control their impulses and anger, and develop their life skills, it makes a big difference.
How Can I Volunteer with Inmates?
There are several reputable organizations that will allow you to volunteer your time with inmates. Below we’ve listed some of them:
Those should get you started in your search. We’re excited for you to get going.