Each year citizen volunteers just like you, contribute thousands of service hours in Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) facilities. The involvement of volunteers is highly valued by the Department. It is an opportunity that provides an important public service and is also personally rewarding.
Volunteers help the Department to deliver programs and services. They bring a variety of skills and model successful leadership and citizenship. Volunteers can also help offenders become more productive, educated, self-sufficient, and law abiding citizens.
For general questions or comments, please contact:
Florida Department of Corrections
501 Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2500
FAQs for Volunteers
We have a list of people who will be volunteering with our organization. Can we just give you
the list of names and social security numbers?
No. Each person must submit a Volunteer Application. This is to ensure each volunteer has read the policy and procedures of the Department regarding volunteering.
The warden said we could take pictures during our volunteer activity/special event. If the warden said we could take pictures then it’s ok, right?
The use of cameras on state property by visitors is prohibited without the express consent of the warden. You should have that authorization in writing and be sure that your Volunteer Supervisor has included your camera on the gate pass.
The special speaker for our event will only be coming one time. Why do they need to attend volunteer training?
Even if someone is coming for only one event, they are at least required to receive volunteer orientation designed to protect themselves, the inmates/offenders, staff, and visitors of the facility. Orientation introduces fundamental rules and regulations of the Department, including HIPAA and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), as well as facility-specific information to ensure a volunteer’s basic awareness of expectations and issues affecting their service. Orientation can often be completed on the same day prior to an event/service, but the volunteer supervisor needs prior awareness in order to be prepared.
If I have questions about my volunteer hours or about my volunteer duties, who do I contact?
All questions related to volunteering should be directed to the Volunteer Supervisor at the facility where you volunteer.
I was denied the ability to volunteer. Do I have any way to appeal the denial?
Yes. Any volunteer who receives a disapproval or inactive/termination may appeal the decision by having the case reviewed by the Central Office Review Panel. The review panel will forward the case to the Deputy Secretary for final review.
I have a criminal history. Will I be allowed to volunteer?
Department Procedure 503.004 states that applicants with a previous prison history are not eligible to serve as a volunteer until a minimum of one (1) year has passed since release from a Department facility or any other county, state, or federal correctional agency.
A volunteer applicant who is an offender with long-term supervision is not eligible for a minimum of one (1) year of successful post-release supervision is complete. Any offender or ex-offender with current pending charges, warrants, or detainers is not eligible to serve as a volunteer.
Applicants with the following history may also be denied volunteer status:
- assaulting correctional staff or Law Enforcement Officers,
- escaping from a correctional facility while incarcerated, or
- introducing contraband into a correctional facility.
A volunteer may be denied at the discretion of Regional or Institutional authorities.
As a volunteer, may I correspond with inmates?
In general, no. Direct mail, phone, or electronic correspondence between an inmate and volunteer is deemed as establishment of a personal (non-professional) relationship, and thus forbidden. There are exceptions. A designated mentor or Spiritual Advisor may correspond with inmates with prior notification of the volunteer supervisor and as long as the correspondence is professional in nature and in keeping with the Department’s rehabilitative goals.
I want to give an inmate some money so that he/she can correspond with my volunteer organization.
Is this allowed?
No! Individual volunteers are not permitted to give anything to an inmate without prior authorization -- whether in person, by mail, or submitted to an account.