Texas Catholic Correctional Ministers
The Catholic Dioceses of Texas
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"For I was in prison and you visited me." (Matthew 25)


Resources and Information for Volunteers

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Volunteer Training Information:

Oversight and coordination of religious volunteer programs within TDCJ are under the jurisdiction of the Chaplaincy Department of the Rehabilitation Programs Division. The Chaplaincy Department provides a variety of morally enriched programs that encourage offenders to pursue their faith, reconcile relationships and strengthen their families.

Information and guidelines for volunteering at TDCJ units can be found at the TDCJ Rehabilitation Programs Division, Volunteer Services Program

As stated on the website, “The role of the volunteer within TDCJ is to provide guidance in specific activities and programs, promote personal growth and development, provide support and assistance to victims and offenders, and help facilitate re-entry into the community.” 

If you are interested in becoming an approved volunteer within TDCJ, you must first submit an application, which can be completed on-line and faxed or mailed to TDCJ 
at the telephone fax number or address indicated on the application form. Following receipt and processing of the application, TDCJ will contact you to arrange your attendance at a volunteer orientation session. The session typically lasts for approximately four (4) hours and is conducted at various TDCJ prison or jail units throughout the state. Attendance at an orientation session is required in order to become an approved volunteer within TDCJ. 

All approved volunteers are further required to undergo retraining every two (2) years. To help meet this requirement, TDCJ offers on-line retraining
for volunteers who have previously completed the on-site training. On-line retraining must alternate with on-site training every two (2) years.

Volunteers programs or services at TDCJ units must have prior approval before implementation or presentation to the offenders. If you plan to start a new program at a TDCJ correctional facility, you must submit a program proposal form to the rehabilitation Programs Division, which can be found on-line at the TDCJ Volunteer Services Program website. It is recommended that you first discuss any new program with the Criminal Justice/Correctional ministry coordinator of your diocese, who may be able to assist you with its implementation. Contact information for each diocese's correctional ministry can be found below the diocesan map at this website. You will also need to obtain approval and coordinate the implementation of the program with the chaplain of the unit at which you plan to serve. A schedule of all TDCJ units along with the contact information of unit chaplains can be found here.

An overview of the TDCJ volunteer program along with its regulations and guidelines can be found in a Handbook for Volunteers in either PDF or Word formats.


Other Volunteer Opportunities and Resources:

Seedling's Promise

The Seedling Foundation is an Austin-based non-profit that responds to the needs of public schools in Travis County by providing resources, assistance and programming. Their activities include a school-based mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities on how to become a mentor and change a life, visit Seedling's web site.


DiscoverCriminalJustice.com is a research and media organization that provides community resources centered on higher education and labor trends in the legal sciences and law enforcement sectors in the US.

Their Criminal Justice Guides help job seekers, professionals, and students understand the changing academic landscapes of these programs and their impact on careers and employment in the State of Texas. You can view their 2 state guides here:



Public Administration Explorer focuses on helping students and job seekers research educational & career opportunities in the public policy & administration industry. Their database includes Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral Public Administration degrees, as well as specific areas of public administration such as Criminal Justice.

Choosing Criminal Justice as a concentration allows learners to combine the many subjects of public administration with knowledge regarding law enforcement, corrections, security, and crime theory. This path is exceptionally useful for individuals that have an interest in the development of policies regarding incarceration, rehabilitation, and treatment of criminals.

You can view their Public Administration Education Guides here:



Documents for Use in Correctional Ministry:

Texas Catholic Action Plan for Criminal Justice    
Priests and Deacons Support Packet
USCCB: Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime & Criminal Justice

Rite of Communion Service Outside Mass 

acramental Preparation (RCIA) in Correctional Units:

Sacramental Preparation (RCIA) Manual for use in a Correctional Facility (Word Document)

Sacramental Preparation (RCIA) Manual for use in a Correctional Facility (PDF Document)

TDCJ Catholic Inquirer (RCIA) Application (Word Document)

TDCJ Catholic Inquirer (RCIA) Application (PDF Document)

Guides & Study Programs from Dismas Ministry:

Sources for Bibles & Other Documents: 

Fact-filled brochure on factors leading to incarceration:

    Stopping the Cycle



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