Criminal Justice Ministry Program Volunteer Needs and Opportunities



  • Catholic priests are needed to enter correctional facilities to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and confer the sacraments. Deacons and lay volunteers can conduct Communion services, Scripture study, catechetical and other faith formation programs.


  • Catholic volunteers can also assist the families of the incarcerated by providing material assistance when income is lost because of the incarceration, mentoring the children of incarcerated parents and by providing counseling and support through other Catholic social ministry programs or agencies.


  • The need for pastoral and other support does not end at the termination of an offender’s period of incarceration. Parishes should be proactive in reaching out to the formerly incarcerated and their families to encourage these individuals’ presence and participation in their faith communities. 


  • In addition, Catholic social ministries can play a key role by assisting formerly incarcerated individuals in meeting basic needs upon their release, such as food, medical, housing, clothing, transportation and employment. By doing so, the likelihood of their successful reentry and reintegration into society is substantially increased. 

  • Finally, there is a need of reform in the culture of the criminal justice system from a primary focus on punishment to that of treatment or rehabilitation. Nearly all inmates will return to society. By providing positive pathways for change and improvement in their lives and for their families, public safety can be improved and crime reduced.