Our volunteers come from all walks of life. They vary in age, ethnicity, faith, and denominational background. Most are Christian, some are of other faiths (e.g., Muslim or Buddhist). They are all endorsed members of a faith community. All are welcome and important for the service.
The purpose of volunteering with Prison Chaplaincy is to help prisoners with their spiritual needs, to support them in a difficult time in their lives as they explore faith, and to bring encouragement, grace, and hope.
Being a TTPCA volunteer is different to being a personal visitor to a prisoner. As a member of the public, you may be able to become a personal visitor to a prisoner, however, this relationship is initiated by the prisoner and must be approved by prison management (Corrections or Serco). In general, TTPCA does not allow its volunteers to also be a personal visitor to any prisoner.
If you would like to help provide faith support to tāne and wāhine in our prisons, please complete an expression of interest.
What do we expect of a volunteer?
Our focus on mahi tahi (teamwork)
Prison Chaplaincy volunteers primarily work in teams, and all are managed by our chaplains at each prison site. Anyone volunteering with us must have the support of their faith leader or church leader.
Our faith-based volunteers typically help to run group activities – Sunday or mid-week worship services, Bible studies, or other faith-based studies. In some cases, volunteers provide one-to-one pastoral care to individual prisoners after experience and additional selection and training.
As Pononga (servants of God) we expect volunteers to act with maturity, skill, and care.
Our value of Haumaru (keeping safe) is vital to our work and we provide training and instruction in how to operate safely in this complex environment – following our policies and procedures is a requirement.
We expect volunteers to participate on the prison site at least six times a year.
Is being a prison chaplaincy volunteer a good fit for you?
Let’s face it, prisons are physically and psychologically demanding places to work, and prisoners are vulnerable people, so it’s really important that TTPCA makes sure that volunteers are suitable. The chaplains at each prison site (with the oversight of their Regional Manager) make the final decision about suitability.
For example, chaplains will consider whether you:
- have relevant skills for providing religious and spiritual services
- are an active member of a faith community and they support your application to volunteer in prison
- are open and accepting of other religions and faiths
- have any conflicts of interest or a criminal conviction history (this may not necessarily rule you out)
- will offer spiritual support to prisoners without discrimination and without pressure or coercion to accept a particular faith
- will accept the guidance and direction of TTPCA management, and support our vision and kaupapa
Becoming a volunteer
Please note – at this time, many prison sites are only allowing limited volunteer access due to staffing shortages. This varies from site-to-site. We value your interest in volunteering with us but please be patient as your application may not proceed until volunteers are able to go on-site once again at the prison where you wish to volunteer.
After we receive your expression of interest, we will be in touch to discuss the role and your suitability (an interview), arrange for criminal convictions history check, and if all is in order, we will book you in for a Corrections/Serco induction followed by our own induction training. Once your application is approved by the prison site, you would then be granted access to the prison under the supervision of our chaplains.
It is a requirement for all volunteers to complete the TTPCA Code of Conduct training and for those who are involved in group services, a Group Service training. This training is in addition to Corrections or Serco run site inductions which are also required.
It is no longer a Corrections and Prison Chaplaincy Aotearoa requirement that all prison volunteers be fully vaccinated, but we encourage all our staff and volunteers to do all that they can to support government health initiatives which includes getting vaccinated. We want to do everything we can to protect prisoners as a vulnerable population.
Become a volunteer
If you would like to become one of our volunteers, please talk to a chaplain at a prison near you.
After we receive your expression of interest, we will be in touch to discuss the role and your suitability (an interview), arrange for a criminal convictions history check, and if all is in order, we will book you in for a Corrections/Serco induction followed by our own induction training.
NOTE – the process from initial enquiry to being granted access to a prison site takes time. Please be patient – we value your interest in volunteering but are sure you will understand that there are multiple factors involved in enabling volunteers to go on to prison sites.
Once your application is approved by the prison site, you would then be granted access to the prison under the supervision of our chaplains.