Volunteerism in a jail setting

Shirley I Williams, Fordham University


The relative merits of using volunteers in the field of Corrections has been an issue for many years. Despite theoretical implications found in studies and reports regarding the usefulness of volunteers as a community resource, volunteerism in jail settings has rarely been evaluated. In this study, four hypotheses were tested in the New York City Department of Correction regarding the demographic characteristics, attitudes and motivations of volunteers in a jail setting. While certain demographic variables contribute significantly to a profile of the jail volunteer, the results of this study, contrary to the literature, negates the stereotypical pattern of the volunteer. The data suggest that in the New York City Department of Correction, the volunteer was more likely to be male, black, married, Protestant, a member of the Democratic Party, over forty years of age, employed and with an annual income of less than $18,000. In the findings of this study, demographic characteristics explained more significantly the longevity of volunteers while the collective attitudes explained the frequency of volunteer activity. Another finding is that membership in religious groups is highly significant in both frequency and length of service.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Williams, Shirley I, "Volunteerism in a jail setting" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8904650.