Best Practice (BP):

Best practices are specific, discrete ministry activities that measurably increase program scale, effectiveness, and/or efficiency, and can be replicated by other National Ministries. Best practices should be supported by evidence (data).

Train Volunteers on the ‘Prison Do’s and Don’ts’ Before Bringing Them to Prisons

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Benefits

Volunteers represent your organization to prisoners and prison authorities. Ensuring they are well-trained in how to operate inside will build trust and credibility between your organization and the Corrections Institutions/Officials. High levels of trust and credibility invite opportunities for increased access to prisons and prisoners.

Planning Considerations

  1. Understand the unique prison security policies and procedures of your Corrections Institutions. For a list of common policies and procedures, click here.
  2. Develop training that addresses:
    • prison policies and procedures
    • how to appropriately engage corrections officials and staff
    • how to appropriately engage prisoners
    • how to remain safe

    Consider developing this training in collaboration with Corrections.

  3. Determine how to best deliver the training (group-based, individual, self-paced) and deliver it. If group-based, invite a member of the Corrections staff to be a guest presenter.
  4. Establish a standard for every volunteer to receive annual refresher training.

Required Resources

  1. Human Resources
    • You will need 1-2 staff members or volunteers to facilitate communication with both prison leadership and volunteers.
    • You will also need to identify a trainer and schedule training.
  2. Collateral
    • Develop a written guide
    • Develop training material
  3. Time
    • Time to meet with prison leadership.
    • Time for the volunteer to review prison conduct materials
    • Time to set-up and conduct training
  4. Space
    • Space requirements will vary based on what type of training you choose to conduct.
    • If doing group-based orientations, you’ll need a venue like a church or larger office space with audio/visual capabilities.
    • If doing one-to-one orientations, a coffee shop or small office space will do.
  5. Cost
      Considerations include snacks for training sessions and printing costs.

NM with Demonstrated Experience in this BP

Brazil
Colombia
Costa Rica
Guatemala
Nigeria
Uruguay
Zambia

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Editor's Notebook

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

Today’s issue continues the series of Best Practices relating to volunteers that will run through the end of the year. As Andy Corley said in the last issue of Touchstone, volunteers are a constant source of inspiration. They are the unsung heroes in all that we do. If Tolkien were telling the tale of PFI, our volunteers might be in the position of Samwise Gamgee and Frodo, the two hobbit heroes in The Lord of the Rings. Sure, Gandalf, Aragorn, Elrond and many others were crucial to the mission. But the two hobbits went where nobody else could. Just like our volunteers.

“The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” That is how Elrond, the Elven ruler, summarized the plan decided at the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring. What was this plan? For two hobbits to walk into Mordor—the dark land or land of shadow—and attempt to destroy the One Ring of Power.

Our shared mission to transform the lives of prisoners, their families, and victims cannot be accomplished without our volunteers walking into the land of shadow. They do this not to destroy a ring but to destroy a lie – that there is no hope, that darkness has overcome the light. This is why the Global Impact team has launched the Best Practice series with a focus on volunteers. All of the other Best Practices are important and will follow – but without the right volunteers, the impact will fall short.

Today’s BP is accompanied by a list of Ground Rules about common prison security procedures and policies, provided by Hugh Greathead, senior regional director and global membership liaison, Europe and Central Asia. He may not be Tolkien, but he is our very own talented Englishman, and his rules are a must read. Also, in case you missed the last issue, please take a look at this year’s Week of Prayer resources and follow the link to download them. And please let us know what you think by taking our quick survey!

Pace e bene,
Christine

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:11–13