Interested in Volunteering or Interning?

If you are considering entering the Corrections field but still are not sure, try volunteering or completing an internship to gain the information you need to make that decision as well as a potential edge to help launch your career. Not only does volunteering/interning show you are thoughtful and smart about your career options, it also demonstrates that you have drive and motivation.

Volunteering

volunteerIf you have a skill, knowledge, or interest in working to help individuals involved in the justice system in your community, consider volunteering your time. Whether you tutor inmates, provide opportunities to help inmates learn about art, or serve as an Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous volunteer, Corrections needs you.

After making the decision to volunteer and finding an agency suited to your goals, schedule an appointment with the Agency Director or Volunteer Coordinator. Because responsibilities can vary considerably, some questions you may consider asking include the following:

  • What kind of training is available for volunteers?
  • Who will supervise the volunteer work?
  • Are there any specific desired skills?
  • What are the responsibilities and duties of the volunteer?
  • Are there any current volunteers I can talk to?
  • Might this lead to future employment opportunities?

Internships and Field Placements

internInternships/field placements are another great way to gain firsthand experience in the Corrections field. This type of experience will provide a look at the day-to-day realities of Corrections work and help you determine whether a position/area is a viable or appealing career choice for you.

Internships typically last for a specific time period (often a college or university school semester) and duties/responsibilities are usually well defined by the agency. Most colleges and universities have Internship Programs and/or Coordinators who will help you secure a position. Internships/Field Placements may be full-time or require just a few hours a day/week. They may be paid or unpaid, and may or may not count as class credit. The primary focus is on learning, gaining experience, and developing job-related skills.

Questions you may want to ask when considering an internship are:
  • What type of hands-on supervision will I receive during my internship?
  • How involved will I be in the day-to-day activities of the agency?
  • How much contact will I have with defendants, inmates, or individuals on community supervision?
  • Can I speak with someone on your staff, or a past intern, before starting my internship?
  • Might this lead to future employment opportunities?

Finding Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

To learn about opportunities, check with the Volunteer Coordinator of the local jail, prison or juvenile detention facility, or with the Probation/Parole Office in your area. Conducting an online search can help you determine if a particular agency interests you. Also consider contacting faith-based organizations, which play an integral role in the Corrections field, often providing important correctional programming, mentoring and guidance to inmates or individuals on community supervision.

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