The Volunteer Program is a comprehensive, proactive program that increases the community’s capacity to assist in successful inmate reentry by engaging community stakeholders, partners and inmate families. Volunteers who offer their time, talents and professional expertise are indispensable if the Department of Corrections (DOC) is to achieve its mission. The Department of Corrections currently has over 3,600 volunteers who play an important role in the Department as they provide invaluable services to both inmates and staff. For those incarcerated, volunteers influence lifestyle changes and provide that vital link to the community, and for those on community supervision, they provide support and assistance by developing community resources and keeping them connected, or allowing them to become connected, to the community.
Each and every volunteer brings unique talents, skills, knowledge and abilities to our agency gained through training and individual life experiences. The Volunteer Program provides an array of volunteer opportunities based on agency needs that are matched to volunteers' interests and skills. By volunteering at the DOC, not only will you be provided with opportunities for personal satisfaction and growth, but the state will benefit from your decision to be of assistance to others. Volunteer opportunities are located throughout Washington state.
Volunteer applicants must meet the below qualifications and restrictions. Volunteer positions and duties may be restricted for individuals with a past criminal history.
To apply for a volunteer position, prospective volunteers:
- Must be at least 18 years
- Must have photo identification
- Must provide services DOC needs in accordance with the Department's guidelines
- Must have a valid driver's license if duties include driving while on state business. Volunteers must have permission to use state vehicles.
- May not be a member of the immediate family or friend of inmates at the facilities at which they seek to volunteer.
- May not be under the supervision of any local, county, state or federal corrections agency or under indictment for any felony.
- Must submit to a thorough background check.
Opportunities for volunteers to collaborate with the Department abound, whether providing educational tutoring, social services support, religious programming, or reciprocal community stakeholder involvement on boards, steering committees and/or advocacy councils. Alternatively, the Department actively seeks community collaborations such as grant projects, staff and volunteer memberships on boards and councils, serving as proactive partners with law enforcement agencies, involved with inmate change programs, advising on management teams and helping with transitional programs. Many opportunities are yet to be defined and developed, and will be accomplished only by recognizing the Department's and the community's mutual interests.
Help in Prison:
Help in the Community:
Before Volunteering, Understand the Prison Rape Elimination Act
Before volunteering at DOC, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) . The PREA Act was signed into federal law September of 2003. It prohibits sexual misconduct in correctional settings such as prisons, jails, lockups, juvenile facilities, and Immigration Services/ICE detention facilities . Sexual misconduct under this law includes:
- Inmate-on-inmate sexual assault and abuse
- Staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct (sexual/inappropriate relationships with inmates)
- Inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual harassment
The Department has zero tolerance for sexual offenses committed against offenders by other offenders, as well as sexual offenses committed by employees, volunteers and contract staff. DOC has designed and implemented PREA training specific for staff, contractors, volunteers, and inmates. The Information for Staff, Contract Staff and Volunteers PREA brochure provides additional information on PREA and volunteer responsibilities. For more PREA information, visit the DOC PREA webpage.
- Fill out DOC 03-440 Volunteer Application
- Fill out DOC 03-031 Criminal Disclosure
- Fill out DOC 05-370 Criminal History Records Check
- Fill out DOC 03-502 Sexual Misconduct Disclosure
- Submit your completed forms by email to VolunteerProgram@doc.wa.gov , or mailing to:
Department of Corrections
Address of the Facility you would like to volunteer at.
Note: If you do not know which facility location you want, please email it to the Volunteer Program .
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) policies, that apply to volunteering.
- DOC Policy 130.200 Lawsuit Processing/Staff Liability Protection
- DOC Policy 150.150 Visits and Tours of Department Facilities and Offices
- DOC Policy 200.000 Trust Accounts for Offenders
- DOC Policy 230.500 Vehicle Use
- DOC Policy 280.525 Record Management
- DOC Policy 400.025 Identification Cards
- DOC Policy 490.800 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Prevention and Reporting
- DOC Policy 490.850 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Response
- DOC Policy 530.100 Volunteer Program
- DOC Policy 560.200 Religious Programs
- DOC Policy 800.020 Use of State Resources
- DOC Policy 810.015 Criminal Record Disclosure and Finger Printing
- DOC Policy 850.025 Outside Employment/Volunteer Activities
- DOC Policy 850.030 Relationships/Contacts with Offenders
- DOC Policy 850.625 Sexual Harassment
- DOC Policy 860.200 Recognition Program
- DOC Policy 870.400 Personal Appearance/Uniform Standards
- DOC Policy 890.000 Safety Program
- DOC Policy 890.610 Tuberculosis (TB) Program for Employees, Contract Staff, and Volunteers
- DOC 03-440 Volunteer Application
- DOC 03-031 Criminal Disclosure
- DOC 05-370 Criminal History Records Check
- DOC 03-502 Sexual Misconduct Disclosure
Laws & Regulations
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
- PREA Brochure: Information for Staff, Contract Staff and Volunteers (2015)
- Volunteer Guidebook (DOC 2010)