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Prison and Jail Ministry:

Steps to Becoming a Volunteer in Corrections

People from all walks of life can be good volunteers. We need level-headed people who are willing to share their faith, training and experience with inmates. Below is a list of steps to become a Volunteer in Corrections.

  1. Meet with a staff member from the Life & Justice Office to determine best suited volunteer position to match your interests and skill sets with DOC chapel and other programming needs.

  2. Complete an Application for Facility Access form and visit with the Chaplain and/or the Resident/Inmate Activity Coordinator at the facility in which you'll be a volunteer.

  3. Once approved, complete a Volunteer/Intern application from the Department of Corrections.

  4. Include a letter of reference from your sponsoring outside religious organization with the application.

  5. The application and reference letter should be sent to the institution where you wish to serve. The Institutional Activity Coordinator (IAC) in cooperation with the Chaplain will review the application, conduct a background check and contact you for a follow-up interview..

  6. If approved, you will be scheduled to attend a one-day volunteer training at one of the DOC training center facilities located in St. Joseph MO.

After successful completion, you will be issued a VIC ID card, screened for Tuberculosis, and provided orientation to the facility. You will be expected to provide regular services during the year as scheduled, remain compliant with TB testing and complete six hours of in-service training per year.
​Questions about this process or volunteering can be directed to:
     Life & Justice Office
     Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
     20 West Ninth Street
     Kansas City, MO 64105
     Phone: 816-756-1850



What YOU Have to Offer the Offenders

The person most important to your success and achievement at this correctional institution is the staff member with whom you work. In fact, technically, your only function as a VIC (Volunteer in Corrections) is to 
assist staff members in their duties.

People are complex multi-faceted beings; so are our needs when seeking out significance, value and worth. We are more than the object of a program or the tool of a new initiative. There must be more than conformity and robotic compliance to those who have more power. So it is with the incarcerated person. Offenders are accustomed to going along in order to get along. This perspective only works until the price for non-compliance is eclipsed by the delicious fruit of self-gratification. With this perspective, no price is too high, no level too low. Many times not even personal shame, loss of one’s family, one’s marriage or the return to prison can deter this self-destructive behavior.
There is an answer. Instead of changing the direction by sheer will, the entire focus must be replaced. This is where the faith component comes into play. Many offenders are eager to re-evaluate faith principals as they realize their self-seeking strategy has failed them miserably. Chapel programs challenge offenders to address the spiritual issues deep inside that they have ignored and denied. The faith community can assist in providing the element of spirituality during and even after incarceration.


​Possible Donation Ideas

All donations must receive prior approval from the Chaplain

Worship service bulletins
Religious magazine subscriptions
Religious fiction books
Religious tracts, pamphlets
Inexpensive devotional type books
Wall calendars (inspirational/religious)
Sacred texts such as bibles
Pocket calendars
New or nearly new musical equipment                                                                                                                           
Approved, consumable ritual items for holy day observances

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