Frequently Asked Questions:
Is there an age requirement for volunteers?
Yes, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to volunteer in a Texas prison.
How often do you go to a prison?
Teams of volunteers visit the prisons on the second and third Saturdays of every month.
How many people are on a team?
There are 2 team leaders and 4-6 volunteers on each team, depending on the needs of a particular unit.
How often am I required to volunteer?
Once trained, volunteers are asked to sign up and volunteer at least twice a year.
How often can I volunteer?
Sign-Up calendars are sent out quarterly and fill up fast. We ask that you only sign up for one spot a month so that others may have a chance to volunteer. Each month, the scheduler sends out emails with “S.O.S.” calls for last-minute needs. This happens when another volunteer has had to cancel. All are welcome to fill in when this happens.
How long is the volunteer day?
Generally, 8 hours. Carpools meet at 9:00 a.m. and return at 5:00 p.m. Most of the prisons are at least an hour’s drive from Austin. We stop for an early lunch so team members can meet ahead of arriving at the prison.
What can I wear to prison?
- Modest clothing, no leggings or extremely tight clothing
- White shirt and white pants may not be worn together
- No flip-flop type sandals are allowed
- Sunglasses are allowed in some units, but not all
- It’s best not to wear an underwire bra as it may set off the security scanner
What training is required:
All prison volunteers are required to take the 4-hour TDCJ mandated training, which is offered monthly at locations around the state. Volunteers must renew their training every 2 years although training may be completed online every other time.
Training for using the digital voice recorders can be done on-site at the prison, and computer training is offered at the office monthly.
I have completed my background check application, what’s next?
Be patient. Mark your calendar for 4 to 6 weeks from the day you submitted your application. If you haven’t received your letter of approval, please contact the TDCJ volunteer services office to check on the status of your application.
As soon as you have your approval letter, email email@example.com and you will be added to the volunteer roster. You can now schedule your training. You may attend 2 prison visits prior to your training as a special visitor.