Volunteering with Concord Prison Outreach

Thank you for your interest!

Becoming a CPO volunteer is a lengthy and selective process because we are looking for people who can make a long-term commitment and deal with and adapt to the challenges of working within a prison or jail. We receive a high volume of applications each month. We are grateful for your interest, and your patience, while we work to match volunteer competencies and availability with opportunities to serve incarcerated students.

Concord Prison Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, status as a U.S. veteran or criminal record.

CPO Volunteer On-Boarding Steps:

Complete the volunteer information form. This form provides us with your contact information, areas of interest, two references, and your availability. Once we review your application and we believe you would be a good fit, our Volunteer Coordinator will schedule a call to learn more about the applicant. If we decide to move forward, you will receive an invitation to a CPO orientation.

CPO holds orientations to provide prospective volunteers about Concord Prison Outreach, the effects of mass incarceration on communities, how prison education can help incarcerated people and guidance on volunteering in the prison system. Participants will get an overview of CPO’s mission and volunteer expectations. Please note: participating in an orientation does not guarantee that you will be selected as a volunteer inside.

After completing our CPO Orientation, Ellie (Volunteer Coordinator) will contact you when there are volunteer opportunities. You may not be placed in a program for several months after the CPO orientation. Some CPO programs require extra training (Transforming Anger through Nonviolent Communication, BEACON) that are offered by CPO. Ellie will set up the additional training, if necessary.  If you are chosen to be the volunteer, your references will be contacted.

You will be provided a volunteer application for the DOC (Department of Correction) to complete prior to orientation. It includes includes background information, volunteer emergency contact information, CORI forms, and PREA information.

Once you have been placed in a program, all volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation at the prison they’ve been assigned to volunteer. It is hosted by the Department of Corrections (DOC) or Middlesex House of Correction (MHOC).

All volunteers are required to pass a background check to enter the institutions. CPO does not control the background verification process and cannot guarantee that you’ll be approved, or how quickly you’ll be approved.  The DOC/MHOC helps volunteers prepare to navigate this experience to ensure people’s safety and to maximize the efficacy of volunteer programming.

Once prospective volunteers submit the DOC packet, it will be processed by the Director of Treatment. Please note that this can be the longest wait before volunteering. The DOC is eager to have volunteers begin their work, but volunteer background checks can be slow.

Once you receive confirmation that your paperwork has been processed, a program leader with be in touch with you.

Concord Prison Outreach
2023 Volunteer Handbook

The purpose of this handbook is to contextualize the role as a volunteer inside Massachusetts prisons and jails. It provides information on incarceration in Massachusetts, the on boarding process, volunteer expectations, and polices and procedures.

Make A Difference Today

Through time, or donation, you can make the difference in an individuals life and future both inside and outside of prison walls.