Why Have Volunteers in CSC?

As an agency of the federal government, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) makes use of volunteers to complement and share in its programs. Volunteers help to bridge the gap between an isolated prison community and a free society, to which most offenders return. Equally as important, volunteers from the community provide a means of effective communication among institutions, parole offices and local communities, thereby helping CSC to maintain a sensitive and positive presence in the community.

The services of volunteers have become an integral part of many offenders' lives, whether the offender is in prison or on parole. Volunteers contribute to a variety of institution-based programs including chaplaincy, recreation activities, classroom and workshop instruction, social events and cultural activities. In the community, volunteers support families of incarcerated offenders and help released offenders re-adjust to life in the community. CSC's volunteer program is one way of ensuring that it is not only staff and specialists hired by CSC who are involved in corrections. Volunteers bring the community into correctional environment and in doing so, offenders are better able and more willing to function effectively in the community.

CSC recognizes and appreciates the value of the contribution made by citizen volunteer participation. Accordingly, CSC is committed to actively promoting and sustaining citizen participation at the community office and institutional levels.

The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) establishes the principles that guide CSC's efforts within the community. In addition, CSC's Mission, core values and guiding principles recognize the importance of involving the public in our correctional agenda. CSC's strategic objectives state that CSC will strive "to ensure that volunteers form an integral part of our program delivery in institutions and the community," and "to mobilize community resources to ensure that offenders, upon release, are provided with support and assistance".

These strategic objectives and other assertions in CSC's Mission Statement and policies acknowledge the valuable role that the community and other external resources, including municipal and provincial governments and other federal government departments, play in the delivery of programs and services to offenders.