Partnering with Community Agencies
Men in OSP are eager to work with community partners whenever they are reasonably able to do so. It can be a lengthy process for the men inside to establish interest and communication with community agencies, and any individual volunteers from the community who wish to enter the prison regularly must train as volunteers for the Oregon DOC, pass the criminal background checks, and be fully approved by the administration. In order to reach out and offer support to worthy causes, the men inside regularly donate money to community-based organizations—as an example, along with numerous donations to agencies and families in need, in 2014 the Lifers’ Unlimited Club donated $1200 to the nonprofit agency Angels in the Outfield and $650 to a local high school to sponsor a drug-free graduation event. They also invested money and effort to fill backpacks with school supplies and to hand them out to the children who visited their loved ones in the prison. If community agencies or volunteers come to them with an idea or a good cause, the leaders of the prison population will generally seek support from their peers, staff members, and prison administrators to figure out what they can do to help. Over the past several years through their persistence in pursuing avenues to make a positive contribution to the larger society and their strong desire to give back, prisoners in the penitentiary have developed ongoing relationships with a number of community partners.