For many decades, the Maine State Prison has relied upon citizen volunteer services to enhance the existing facility programs and services available to prisoners. Presently, approved and trained citizens volunteer in program areas such as education, religious services, medical or substance abuse services and also provide ancillary support to staff.
With increased public awareness and interest in corrections, a comprehensive citizen volunteer program has evolved at the prison, where approximately two hundred volunteers have completed orientation training. Many volunteer contribute their time on a regular schedule, while some come in on an occasional basis.
Those who make a commitment to come on a regular basis are typically involved in a specific program or course offered to the prisoners, such as the horticulture program, academic tutoring, religious services or substance abuse classes. While some of these volunteers may be retired professionals, a significant number take time from their active careers to provide services to prisoners.
Although the majority of volunteers are recruited by the individual department heads of prisoner programs or services, anyone who is interested in volunteering is asked to contact the facility’s Deputy Warden of Prisoner Services, who oversees the volunteer program.
Application forms are available through the Deputy Warden of Prisoner Services, who can be reached through the facility’s main telephone number (273-5300).
Volunteer Eligibility Qualifications
- Minimum age requirement of twenty one years,
Valid government issued photo identification card,
Is not presently an approved visitor for any prisoner(s) or waiting approval as a visitor,
- Has not had visiting privilege or volunteer status either suspended or terminated at any correctional facility, unless an exception is approved in writing by the Chief Administrative Officer,
- Is not a family member, friend or relative of a prisoner, unless an exception is approved in writing by the Chief Administrative Officer,
- Is not a former prisoner of any correctional facility (including federal, military, state or county correctional facility), unless an exception is approved in writing by the Chief Administrative Officer,
- Demonstrates the ability to relate to prisoners,
Provides the necessary valid licensure or certification documentation as a prerequisite to providing professional services,
- Completes the volunteer application and screening (e.g. criminal background check, reference verification, license or certification verification) required by the facility unless modified or waived by the Chief Administrative Officer, and
- Does not pose a threat to the safety or security of the facility as determined by the facility Chief of Security or other supervisory staff designated by the Chief Administrative Officer.
Once a volunteer has been approved, an orientation training session lasting approximately four hours will be provided to include information and materials on the following:
- The mission and background of the facility,
- Introduction to unit management and direct supervision principles,
- Physical layout of the facility and escort procedures,
- Volunteer rules and regulations,
- Security practices, including search procedures for volunteers,
- Emergency procedures and codes,
- MDOC policies and procedures on Harassment and the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action guidelines (volunteers will be expected to sign the forms acknowledging they have received this information),
- MDOC policies and procedures concerning Code of Ethics, Standards of Conduct, Sexual Misconduct Against Prisoners, Smoking and Confidentiality of Records (volunteers will be expected to sign the forms acknowledging they have received this information), and
- Responsibility to inform appropriate staff if the volunteer is aware of a potential prisoner suicide attempt, escape attempt and other potential emergencies or criminal activity.