Religious & Volunteer Services
Faith has been an important part of Corrections since the very first prisons were established in this country. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections does not endorse one religious belief over another nor does it endorse religion over non-religion. However, the department has always supported the work of religious groups in our facilities. Today the types of services religious volunteers provide are so diverse that we try to use some consistent definitions to describe their activities:
Religious Services - we use this term to describe religious meetings that are primarily worship or religious education, such as bible studies.
Faith-Based Programs - refers to programs offered by volunteers which address specific criminogenic issues such as cognitive behavior skills, family relationships or substance abuse from a faith prospective.
Religious Services at most of the facilities in Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Private Prisons which house Oklahoma inmates are numerous and diverse. The vast majority of our volunteers are Religious volunteers and most of them serve by providing opportunities for worship, religious education and spiritual growth. The only locations where religious services are more limited are those where security restrictions limit the number of inmates that can gather together at one time or where the facility has limited space to accommodate the services
These services provide important opportunities for the inmate:
- The opportunity to exercise their right to religious freedom.
- The opportunity to refocus their life through a renewed spiritual emphasis. This can provide a foundation of values and beliefs that can lead to a changed life.
- At the Community Correction level, offenders are brought to local churches or religious groups for services. This provides them an opportunity to become integrated back into the community through these faith-groups which also provide important support and accountability.
Religious Services OP-030112
Correctional Officer Chaplaincy Program for Employees
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) is committed to a positive partnership between the agency and its volunteers. This partnership is an essential part of achieving the department’s mission. Volunteer involvement provides additional resources, enhances inmate programs & services, plays an important role in reentry efforts and creates opportunities for a greater public understanding of the challenges of corrections.
Volunteers may perform in any area of agency operation where needs are identified, the volunteer is trained, certified or licensed to perform the duty, and the necessary accountability and resources are available. The department appreciates the tremendous contributions made by thousands of volunteers each month in various settings, including:
- State operated & Private Prisons
- Community Corrections Centers
- Half-way Houses
- Work Centers
- Probation & Parole Offices
- Administrative Offices
- Reentry Programs & Services within the community
The types of volunteer services provided are various as well including:
- Religious Services
- Faith-Based Programs
- Cognitive Behavioral Programs
- Substance Abuse Programs
- Family & Relationship Skills
- Student Internship
- Administrative Assistance
How do I become a Volunteer?
- Contact the Chaplain or Volunteer Coordinator at the facility or office where you are interested in serving as a volunteer to discuss their needs and your desired area of service.
Once you have arranged for a place to serve, complete the necessary forms, which are:
- Submit the forms to the Volunteer Services Unit at the address on the Volunteer Application
The agency encourages successful ex-offenders to become volunteers after they have been released from an institution for at least 18 months. If you are an ex-offender seeking to serve as a volunteer you should also include the following with your application.
- A reference letter from someone, other than family, that can attest to your drug-free, positive life-style.
- If you are still under supervision we will need a letter from your supervision officer stating they have no objection to your serving as a volunteer with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
- When the application is approved you will be contacted regarding training, dates, and locations.
- Training is offered at five regional locations across the state.
- Upon completion of training you will be able to begin your service as a volunteer.
- Questions, please call 405-962-6111.
Volunteer Services OP-090211
Volunteer Application - Attachment A, OP-090211
Authorization to Release Information - DOC 090211A, OP-090211