The Indiana Department of Correction relies on volunteers to play a critical role in our mission. The services they contribute in our facilities throughout the state provide an invaluable opportunity for community engagement. Volunteers assist those incarcerated with gaining valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities to prepare them for a successful re-entry. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from potential volunteers.
Q. How can I help?
There are numerous opportunities to volunteer with the Indiana Department of Correction. Below is a list of common categories and programs available at facilities throughout the state. For more information on how you can help, other ways to get involved, or if you have an idea for a new program, contact a specific facility or you can contact the Religious and Volunteer Services Division.
- Mentoring – Research has demonstrated that mentoring can positively affect social, behavioral, and academic outcomes. The development of a trusting relationship that provides consistent, non-judgmental support and guidance greatly assists the re-entry process. Volunteers may serve as a mentor in a one-on-one or group setting.
- Family and Parenting Education – Various programming exists throughout the state to enhance the family and parenting relationship both during incarceration and in preparation for release. The programs encourage offenders to develop and maintain stronger ties with their families, which has a positive impact on recidivism. Volunteers are needed to facilitate programming.
- Re-Entry Programming – Re-Entry planning begins as soon as an individual is incarcerated. Facilities provide programming to address a variety of challenges to avoid the cycle of recidivism. Volunteers assist by facilitating programming involving financial literacy, life skills, character building, employment searching, and community resources.
- Religious Programming – We have a religiously diverse population, and volunteers are vital in providing faith-based services. The Department utilizes volunteers in a number of ways including leading services, facilitating programming, guiding studies and mentoring.
- Educational Programming – 34% percent of the Department’s adult population is functionally illiterate. Increasing educational attainment while incarcerated holds the promise of improved employment opportunities at better wages to help end the repetitive cycle of incarceration. Volunteers are always needed to provide tutoring and educational assistance.
- Veterans Affairs – The Indiana Department of Correction has taken significant action to support our military veterans who are incarcerated. From Veteran-specific housing units to American Legion Posts, to mentoring; there are many ways volunteers can help the Department support our veterans.
- Substance Abuse – Volunteers can assist with self-help and supportive programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. These are available in all IDOC Facilities.
- Clean Lifestyles is Freedom Forever (CLIFF) is a modified Therapeutic Community designed specifically for those whose lives were impaired by methamphetamine. The program is an intensive cognitive behavioral, evidenced-based best practice counseling. Volunteers are needed to provide mentoring to offenders and facilitate the classes.
- Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) is a faith and character-based community within the facility. The emphasis of this voluntary initiative focuses on strengthening spiritual moral and character development as well as life-skills. Volunteers are needed to provide mentoring to offenders and facilitate the classes.
Q. What are the requirements to apply to become a volunteer?
- At least 18 years old
- Maturity and ability to handle volunteer responsibilities
- Willingness to undergo a criminal history check
- Attend an orientation and complete annual trainings
- Complete a volunteer application in addition to state and facility required forms
- Submit to an initial and annual tuberculous screening
- Follow Department policies, procedures, rules & regulations
- Agreement to work without compensation
Q. What are the steps to apply?
- Contact the facility you’d like to volunteer at or contact the Religious and Volunteer Division
- Schedule a time to discuss how you’d like to volunteer
- Complete the required forms and submit them to the Community Involvement Coordinator at the facility
- Attend New Volunteer Orientation and successfully complete all required training and paperwork
- Coordinator your schedule with the Community Involvement Coordinator
Q. Can I volunteer if I have a criminal history?
Individuals who are formally justice-involved are sometimes the best examples of success. Applicants with a criminal history are encouraged to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What is the normal time frame for a background checks to come back?
The timeframe for a background check to be completed can take one week or several weeks.
Q. What is a typical volunteer schedule?
It will depend on the program or service you provide. Most volunteer programs occur during the evenings and weekends but some are available during the day. You will coordinate your schedule with the Community Involvement Coordinator at the facility where you volunteer.
Q. Does the Department have any donation needs?
Absolutely! Simply contact the Community Involvement Coordinator at the specific facility where you would like to donate for more information about their facility needs or you can contact the Religious and Volunteer Division for general inquiries.
Q. What is the dress code policy? Can I shake their hands? Can volunteers bring in drinks/snacks?
These questions and questions like these will all be answered at orientation.
Q. Do I have to be part of a group to be a volunteer?
No. Although we encourage our volunteers to participate with a group, you are welcome to volunteer as an individual.
Q. Are there internship opportunities available?
Yes. Contact the specific facility that interests you for more information about internship opportunities.