Ministerial, Family and Volunteer Services
- Children's Play Areas
- Family Reunion Program
- Family Services Programs
- Ministerial Services
- Visitor Hospitality Centers
- Volunteer Services Programs
CHILDREN’S PLAY AREAS
Children’s Play Areas are a separate part of the Visiting Room where the inmate and family members can go with their child to play with a variety of toys, puzzles or watch a video. This area of the Visiting Room is meant for the inmate to share some time with his/her child or children.
To encourage family interaction, particularly between children and the person
who is in
Children’s Play Areas are in all facilities except Camps, Shock and Work Release.
FAMILY REUNION PROGRAM
The Family Reunion Program provides approved inmates and their families the opportunity to meet for a designated period of time in a private home-like setting.
- To preserve and strengthen family ties that have been disrupted as a result of incarceration.
- To foster positive and responsible conduct.
- To facilitate post-release reintegration into the family and community, thereby reducing the likelihood of recidivism.
- To be eligible, the inmate must:
- Have been in the Department's custody, in other than initial reception or initial hub assessment status, for at least 6 months.
- Reside in a facility that offers the program for at least 30 days.
- Exhibit a pattern of positive institutional adjustment.
- Successfully participate in facility programs that address issues
related to his or her instant offense and/or history at the first opportunity.
- The following conditions will restrict participation:
- Eligibility for temporary release.
- A higher security designation than permitted at the program site.
- Assignment to a special housing unit, reception unit, administrative protection unit, etc.
- A pattern of disruptive behavior in the facility.
- Special reviews are required to determine eligibility in the following
- CMC classification
- Outstanding warrant
- Conviction for a heinous or unusual crime
- Parole violator status
- Conviction for a sexual offense
30 - 44 hours, depending on the institution.
Taconic (at Bedford Hills)
Woodbourne (at Sullivan)
Downstate Cadre (at Fishkill and Green Haven)
Southport Cadre (at Elmira)
Ulster Cadre (at Eastern)
FAMILY SERVICES PROGRAMS
Family Services Programs are multi-faceted programs which may include the following elements:
- Parent education programs for both male and female inmates with attention to the same or similar programs for the non-incarcerated partner.
- Individual and family counseling to assist with the enhancement of familial relationships.
- Nursery programs for inmates who give birth while incarcerated.
- Mentoring for inmates’ children in the community.
- Supportive services for inmates’ family members in the community.
Programs may be provided by outside agencies contracted by the Department, facility staffers, and/or community volunteers.
To enrich and strengthen family relationships in anticipation of the inmate's eventual return to the community and to strengthen bonds between parent and child.
Varies according to each program.
- Varies according to each individual program.
- The nursery program is available to any eligible inmate who is pregnant at the time of admission to the Department and meets the criteria for the program.
A contractual program offered by the Osborne Association at Sing Sing, Shawangunk, Woodbourne and Fishkill. Expansion is expected within the next year to include 4 additional facilities. Program includes parenting education, Family Centers, couples education and family counseling.
A contractual program offered by the Osborne Association at Albion. Program offers a visitation and parenting program to improve relationships between incarcerated mothers and their children in the community. Case management services, general support and assistance with referrals to agency providers in the community are given to participants upon release.
A contractual program offered by St. Christoper-Ottilie at Bayview which utilizes the Family Dynamics 20 week parenting curriculum. In addition, program provides counseling, foster care visits, advocacy, and referrals to community agencies upon release.
(Every Person Influences Children) Workshops – Parenting skills workshops cover more than 50 in-depth topics which are useful to parents from the time their children are born through adolescence. Collins and Willard.
Four to six week program at Albion teaches parenting skills and education.
Fatherhood: A Parenting Program for Men
Coordinated by VISTA Volunteers and is located at Watertown, Mohawk, and Auburn. Expansion is expected within the next year to include 7 additional facilities.
Parent advocacy and communication skills program at Beacon. Women share their own life experiences and are educated about family violence and its impact on their children.
Inside/Out Dads (Long Distance Dads)
A character based educational and support program which promotes responsible fatherhood. Program curriculum is presented by the National Fatherhood Initiative and is offered at Clinton and Ogdensburg.
Changing Lives – Men’s Parenting Program
Program at Butler focuses on the development of skills which offer a cognitive behavioral approach in the improvement of family relationships.
Nurturing Father’s Program
Staff and inmates at Marcy are trained by the Family Nurturing Center of CNY. Program targets those inmates who are being released to the Oneida County area and includes a component for after-care support.
Provided by DOCS staff and volunteers – at various locations across the state.
Family Services and Nursery Program
Includes visitation, a Children’s Corner, teen programs, transportation, advocacy, mentoring, parenting education, family counseling, and transitional and reunification services. Inmates eligible for the Nursery Program can keep their babies with them in the nursery for up to a year. Services received include daily parenting classes, day care, crisis intervention, advocacy, child placement assistance and discharge assistance. These contractual services are offered at Bedford Hills by Catholic Charities Neighborhood Service, Inc. and at Taconic through Hour Children. (Inmates at Taconic must be ASAT or CASAT eligible.)
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
A mentoring program for inmates’ children in the community, offered at Bedford Hills, Taconic and Albion.
Audiotapes of books read by inmates to their children are sent home with the book so children can read along with their parent. Adirondack, Altona, Camp Gabriels, Collins, Five Points, Hale Creek, Lyon Mt., Mohawk, Marcy, Upstate, Beacon, Bedford Hills, Bayview.
The Ministerial Services Program varies by facility, but includes the basic elements of worship, religious education, and pastoral care at each facility. Special programs, occasional in nature, may be offered (e.g.: Residents Encounter Christ, Kairos, Fully Alive, Prison Fellowship and Yokefellowship and Islamic Restoration Retreat).
To extend to committed offenders as much spiritual assistance as possible, as well as to provide many opportunities for the practice of their chosen faith, in recognition of the First Amendment right of freedom of religion.
Participation in a religious service is voluntary, but an inmate may regularly attend only the religious programs of his designated religion. Inmates who desire to learn about the religious practices of another faith may do so after consultation with the Coordinating Chaplain.
Chaplaincy services are available at all facilities except Rochester.
VISITOR HOSPITALITY CENTERS
Visitor Hospitality Centers provide a place for visitors to stop in prior to going into the facility. Visitors are provided such things as restrooms, a baby changing station, lockers for storing personal belongings, refreshments and information concerning rules and regulations pertaining to visitation, including packages for inmates.
The goal of the Department’s Visitor Hospitality Centers is to enrich and strengthen family relationships by creating family/visitor friendly environments.
Clinton – Main
VOLUNTEER SERVICES PROGRAM
The Volunteer Services Program is designed to assess the Department’s need for programs and services which can be provided by qualified community persons who will be trained and oriented to work in a correctional environment. The Division is responsible for the overall Volunteer Services Program, as well as volunteer recruitment, orientation and program evaluation, in addition to providing advisement and assistance to facility staff responsible for the day-to-day management and supervision of facility volunteer activities.
Facility staff must manage facility volunteer records, screen prospective volunteers and provide supervision to individual volunteers and volunteer programs. Volunteers are involved in a variety of programs including but not limited to:
- Alcoholics/Narcotics/Gamblers Anonymous
- AVP (Alternatives for Violence Project)
- Veterans Programs
- Parenting Programs
- Visitor Hospitality Centers
- Transitional Services Workshops
- Literacy Tutoring Programs
- Prison Fellowship
- “REC” (Residential Encounter Christ) Retreats
- Kairos Retreats
- HIV/AIDS Programs
- Student Internships
Various Religious Workshops and Religious Education Classes including:
- Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic Services
- Nation of Islam
- Seventh Day Adventist
- Native American
- Jehovah Witness
- To increase the variety and scope of the service delivery system of the Department through supplemental programs offered by the community.
- To gain recognition of the volunteer as an integral component of the Department's manpower resources.
- To increase the community's awareness and understanding of the overall goals of the correctional system.
Varies according to program.
Interest in and the qualifications needed for the program being offered.
Volunteer Services programs and services are normally available at all Department locations. The Division has seventeen Supervisors of Volunteer Services located across the State, each with responsibility for several facilities. Each facility has a Volunteer Services Contact Person responsible for managing the facility volunteer program and volunteer Program Staff Supervisors responsible for specific volunteers and volunteer activities.