The CLF can offer our prisoner-members valuable spiritual support by mail. However that doesn’t compare to the in-person experience of Unitarian Universalism that you and other UUs can bring to prisoners in your local jails and prisons through worship services, discussion groups, one-on-one visits, and other UU programming. To get started…
- Find nearby county jails and state/federal prisons. Find maps on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. For state prisons, do an internet search on your state’s name and “Dept Corrections” and then look for a map or list of prisons.
- Talk with members of your congregation and with family and friends to find people who have experience working in, or being incarcerated in, your local jails/prisons. They may know about volunteering there.
- Contact your local jail/prison to ask how they use volunteers (religious programming, library aides, GED tutors, AA/NA groups, childcare during visiting hours, etc.) and when they offer trainings and security screenings for new volunteers. Talk with some current volunteers about what it’s like to volunteer at that institution.
- The religious programming in many jails and prisons is often heavily slanted toward conservative/evangelical Christian services and Bible studies. See if a team from your local UU congregation could start offering inter-faith/multi-faith services, book discussion groups, and other more diverse programming. This will enhance inmates’ education and spiritual growth (in addition to specifically UU programming).