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Home arrow Law arrow The Voluntary Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Personal and Institutional Change

Formal Training Opportunities

Initial Program Training and Orientation

We offer several orientation and training sessions annually to fill positions within our community-writing workshops. We emphasize community and flexibility in both practical application and theoretical orientation. This often requires that volunteers translate their own classroom-based experiences with writing into a community literacy approach that values process and product differently than a traditional evaluative system. The training weaves the language of self-care and community throughout the orientation activities and support materials to emphasize the vital role that volunteer commitment plays in the success of carceral literacy programming.

Volunteer Training Manual

Print and online manuals offer opportunities for volunteers to affirm the program philosophies and practices that trainings introduce. They also offer space for illustrations of practice through sample lesson plans, response methods, and institutional procedure. Even recognition of the need for self-care as an intentional component of training can be powerful within a familiar document like a volunteer manual. Outlining a set of practices and a continuum of potential responses to community workshop outcomes can provide volunteers with both a valuable acknowledgement of their experiences as well as strategies for responding to traumatic events, tensions, or fatigue. Best practice suggests that an integrated model of self-care is more effective than an invitation to reflect or offer feedback at the conclusion of a volunteer experience (see Adams, 2013). A manual can encourage a set of practices that can precede and follow sessions to provide volunteers with an engaging tool kit for understanding the traumas that can emerge from work inside prisons and jails.

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