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MAVA Voice

Incarceration Program Volunteers
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Hi Veronica,

We've worked with several groups like this in the past with high levels of success. The groups volunteer in low risk positions with no access to vulnerable populations (typically sorting/organizing products in our warehouse or in the back of our thrift stores). Since they are supervised by a correctional officer or other representative the entire time we have felt comfortable allowing this type of service.

Because of some internal policy changes related to background checks, we did run one of these groups like this through a background check recently. It was possible, but ended up being a logistical challenge. If you have the leeway to have the volunteers serve in a role that would not require this hurdle, it could have the potential to be a great asset to your program!


We received an inquiry from a correctional facility who is interested in bringing a group of inmates to volunteer with us. While the criteria to be in this program is very strict, and those with a felony are not admitted, I’m not sure where to place these volunteers.

They have volunteered at multiple non profits in the metro, and I’m curious to see if anyone has worked with a group like this before. Did you limit the work they did (ie not interact with clients?) Did you background check the participants? What is your policy on having a group like this at your organization? I think this has a potential for a great partnership, I’m just unsure about the liability of it. Curious to know what your thoughts are on this. Thanks in advance!


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