by Heidi Riley
Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is a federal government organization that contributes to public safety by administering court-imposed sentences of two years or more. This includes the supervision of offenders on conditional release, such as parole, in the community.
While the closest federal prison to PEI is located in Dorchester, New Brunswick, a parole office located in Charlottetown manages the supervision of parolees within the province.
Role of volunteers
Volunteers play a vital role both in institutions and communities. They work alongside community organizations and provide guidance, assist offenders in building resilience, and offer support for offenders facing day-to-day challenges.
For example, in the community, volunteers may support offenders living in rural areas and who may not have access to their own supports. The volunteers offer their time, provide a positive influence, mentorship, and/or support. These connections can occur both by phone or in person and are tailored to meet the needs of an individual.
At times, they are there to provide a listening ear or to help recently released offenders manage their responsibilities by providing reminders for appointments. These services are provided to offenders of all ages and backgrounds who are being supervised by CSC.
Upon release from prison, many offenders need to navigate various processes to reestablish themselves in their communities. This could include obtaining government identification, reinstating healthcare benefits, or opening bank accounts. Volunteers are there to help them get back on their feet.
Successful reintegration is often coupled with successful experiences. Volunteers are able to navigate processes that may have changed since an individual’s incarceration. It is important to have someone there to help recently released offenders process paperwork, find employment and housing, and go to appointments with them.
CSC is always looking for additional volunteers. Citizens of all backgrounds and ages are encouraged to seek volunteer opportunities. Applicants must have reached the age of majority in their respective province or territory.
How to become a volunteer
- Reach out to the Volunteer Coordinator for the Atlantic Region by email at GEN-ATL.VolunteersBenevoles@csc-scc.gc.ca
- Completion the application form and participate in a virtual meeting to go over your experience and what you are looking to get from the program.
- Security forms, including a criminal background check and reference check, are also required to be submitted and processed as part of the application process.
- Once approved, you will be provided with an orientation and additional training, as required.
Volunteers play an important role in the reintegration of our offenders into our communities. This also provides an opportunity to give back to your community and is also an opportunity to see firsthand if a career in corrections may be of interest to you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
on becoming a volunteer, visit www.csc-scc.gc.ca/volunteers/index-eng.shtml
You can also visit CSC’s new “Lift Me Up” page, www.canada.ca/en/correctional-service/campaigns/lift-me-up.html
which tells people-centered stories and shows the real impacts volunteers and others can have on changing lives in the federal correctional system.