Presently, the Mentoring program is scheduled for Monday evenings,
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Main Unit.
The program is on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Work Camp.
Why mentoring ?
Mentoring is a unique and valuable volunteer service in
prisons. It can often be the foundation for fundamental, positive
change. Mentoring is provided so that each inmate will have a
positive influence in life and have a positive contact to assist the
inmate upon release. Mentoring is intended to enhance personal
growth through the sharing of experiences and wisdom and to offer a
framework for teaching and modeling values and life skills.Mentoring
topics will be geared towards personal growth in ethical behavior
and interpersonal relationships.
Mentoring ideally will be a one-on-one
relationship, with mentor and inmate of the same gender. It is a new
challenge to extend a mentoring program opportunity to an entire
prison population and we will work hard to build a sustained base of
volunteer mentors and provide a one-on-one mentoring experience for
every interested resident.
Mentors are assigned as available by the volunteer coordinator.
Inmates may change or decline mentors at any time without any
penalty and may request a new mentor. Mentors may decline to mentor
an inmate at any time and may request a new inmate to mentor.
All mentors must complete the required DOC
volunteer training and pass DOC security clearance requirements.
A female mentor must be accompanied by a
male mentor and may NOT mentor alone with a male inmate or
Successful volunteer mentors all seem to have two important qualities:
1) Faithfulness - they show up when they can and let someone know when
they can't make it.
2) Good listening skills - they are thoughtful, careful listeners.
The Mentoring Process
Volunteer mentors should be at the gate no later than 6:15 p.m.
on Monday evening, the first four Mondays each month. We will enter our PIN # and handprint
into the FAST system, and go to the mentoring location as a group. If
you mentor at the Work Camp, there is no FAST system there at this time;
be sure to wear your volunteer badge or bring your driver's license. Note
that you should wear your volunteer badge at all times in the Main Unit
also. You will likely be split temporarily into groups of 5 by the
security officers in order to be checked for metal, etc. going in and
Mentors all have volunteer training and also a short orientation
at the beginning of each 6-month cycle.
Policy: Faith- and
character-based institutions are designed to provide a wide range of
activities for eligible inmates who have indicated an interest in
personal growth and character development. A faith- and
character-based institution provides a public forum for community
volunteers to offer programs in all areas of personal growth and
character development. Volunteers from both secular and religious
organizations are equally welcome to participate, subject only to
content neutral time, place and manner restrictions based on
institutional, administrative and security needs. An inmate’s
religious faith, or lack thereof, is not considered in determining
eligibility for a faith- and character-based institution. A faith-
and character-based institution will emphasize the importance of
personal responsibility, work, education, substance abuse treatment
and peer support. The goals of a faith- and character-based
institution include without limitation, rehabilitation,
reintegration of inmates into the community, reduction of
recidivism, increasing system-wide institutional security, offering
a fuller range of religious accommodations, and enhancing
restorative justice programming.
Programs: The warden
or assistant warden will impose only content neutral time, place and
manner restrictions on volunteer activities. These restrictions may
include without limitation generally applicable correctional
guidelines consistent with the general order, security and
institutional operation. Religious activities will be scheduled in
accordance with “Chaplaincy Services,” Procedure 503.002. Academic
and vocational programs will be provided pursuant to “Academic
Education Programs,” Procedure 501.106; “Workforce Development
Education for Inmates,” Procedure 502.001; and in accordance with
the Department of Education Curriculum Framework. Inmates will be
required to perform work and other assignments as they would in
every correctional institution. Inmates will be required to maintain
continuous participation in at least one self-betterment activity
while assigned to a faith- and character-based institution, provided
such activity is available. Institutional classification staff will
keep track of the inmate’s participation. Volunteers may assist with
the maintenance of records.
Review DOs / DON’Ts.
1. Lock your vehicle, keep your keys in
your pocket, do not lay them down anywhere. No weapons or alcohol of
any form should be in your vehicle.
2. Do not enter the institution with any:
weapons, brief case, drugs, cell phones, mirrors, fingernail clippers
equipped with files, over $60.00 in cash. Anything you bring in must be
pre-approved by the volunteer supervisor.
3. Dress should be modest. You are not
permitted to wear shorts, short skirts or see-through material; men
should maintain at least casual dress. Ladies are permitted to wear
city shorts and culottes.
4. Do not give anything to an inmate
except that which has already been pre-approved by the volunteer
supervisor. The main things they ask for are ink pens or stamps.
5. Do not take anything from an inmate; do
not agree to do anything for an inmate, like make a phone call to his
family for him or mail out a letter.
6. Unless you are participating as a
mentor, do not write to inmates at the same facility where you are
volunteering. Do not give them your phone number or accept phone calls
from them at your home.
7. You cannot be on an inmate's visiting
list at the same institution where you are volunteering.
8. Stay only in those areas that the
volunteer supervisor has designated. Try to stay together as a group
when walking to the lunch line or out to the rec. field.
9. Do not leave any items that are
assigned to you unattended; if you lay something down it may disappear.
10. Appropriate touch only (i.e. handshakes,
the laying on of a hand to the head or shoulder if necessary while
praying); no hugging or embracing.
11. Remain security conscious at all times.
Remember this is a correctional facility and security takes precedence
over all programs. If an officer gives you an order you must comply
Introduce the session coordinator. Have him
tell how he may be contacted.
Walk through a normal mentoring meeting.
You will arrive at the
assigned time. Please try to be on time or early.
The first set of inmates will
be escorted in.
You will be spending 45
minutes or more with your first set of assigned inmates.
When the session coordinator
asks you to wrap up or quit, please do so promptly.
Be patient during the
changeover from the first set of inmates to the second.
You will then be spending 45
minutes or more with your second set of assigned inmates.
Wrap up as instructed.
The mentors will stay where
they are until the inmates have been escorted from the mentoring site.
The mentors will be escorted
to the gate area in a group.
Remember: Security is #1;
please cooperate promptly with prison officials.
Don’t bring anything in that
you don’t need.
Don’t bring your Bible, Koran or
other religion-specific symbols.
Get a notebook to keep track
of your assigned inmates.
Don’t preach or attempt to
convert while mentoring.
Be a friend.
Listen a lot.
How to listen.
Make a decision to listen.
Work hard to listen – even if
it feels artificial at first.
Suspend judgment and be open
to the presence of the other person’s painful heart.
Your body posture should say
“I’m open, I’m interested, I’m attentive.”
Maintain good eye contact.
Track what the speaker is
saying both on content and feeling levels.
Use oral responses that are
Don’t discuss spiritual stuff unless
it’s ok with your assigned inmates.
Don’t pray unless it’s ok with
your assigned inmates.
Be considerate of others (both
mentors and inmates) that may be of other religious persuasions.
When mentoring more than one
inmate, attempt to involve each of the inmates in the discussions.
If the inmate asks questions
about you, be open but do not reveal personal information that might be
used by the inmate for illegal or undesirable purposes.
If you have preference as to
the religion, vocation, interest, etc of the inmates you will mentor,
please indicate that to your session coordinator. This will be helpful
in assigning you to compatible inmates.
If you are harassed in any way
or treated disrespectfully in any way, report this to your session
What mentoring does for the inmate.
What mentoring does for you.