TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter November 2013

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter November 2013

Would you be a good MENTOR?


  • Are you currently a TDCJ volunteer?
  • Are you a positive role model?
  • Do you want to be a life coach?
  • Are you good at building other people's self-esteem?
  • Can you counsel someone on career choices?
  • Do you respect individuals for their abilities and rights to make their own choices in life?
  • Do you have the ability to listen and to accept different points of view?
  • Do you have the ability to empathize with another person's struggle, while maintaining a professional boundary?
  • Do you have the ability to see solutions and opportunities, as well as barriers?
  • Do you have the time needed to commit to this type of volunteering?
  • Are you able to make a personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time - generally one year or longer?

Visit with the Unit Chaplain or Volunteer Services to discuss mentor opportunities.

Extraordinary Volunteers

J3 jewish

TDCJ offenders have proclaimed more than 250 faith preferences during the intake process.   Volunteers Gene Cantwell and Dan Florence identify themselves as Christian, but have been serving as volunteers for the Jewish worship services at the Jester III Unit since 2009.  When Mr. Cantwell was asked why he volunteers for a faith group different from his own he stated, "Because there was a need and as a volunteer I am here to assist the unit in any way that I am needed."  Additionally, Mr. Cantwell is a mentor and a Certified Volunteer Chaplain's Assistant (CVCA).  He has been a TDCJ volunteer for more than 29 years.  Mr. Florence is a mentor and CVCA and has been a TDCJ volunteer for more than 10 years. 

It is the policy of the TDCJ to extend to all offenders as much freedom and opportunity as possible for pursuing individual beliefs and practices, consistent with security, safety and orderly operations of the institution. 

If you are interested in facilitating worship services contact the Unit Chaplain...

College Student Volunteer Opportunities


On Saturday October 26, 2013, the Lucile G. Plane Facility hosted a volleyball tournament. Volunteers from the Sports Reach Ministry associated with the University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville, Texas presented a positive message for all ladies who participated.  Offender Ariel B. stated, "I was in the Volleyball Tournament and I had a blast.  I loved the message it had with it."  Sports Reach is a ministry that encourages college student volunteers to become involved in prison ministry through athletic activities such as volleyball and softball.  More information on Sam Houston State University student volunteer opportunities...

A Message to All TDCJ Volunteers from Madeline Ortiz, Division Director for Rehabilitation Programs Division

Dear Volunteer,

The level of compassion and caring displayed by each and every one of you raises the bar for those you lead and teach to live responsibly and with integrity.  Because of your efforts, the lives of so many men and women in prison are changed, and families and communities are being restored.  Your kindness provides a helping hand to those moving from prison to freedom and your humanity gives them acceptance as fellow citizens.  Your teachings mirror the path to becoming honorable and trustworthy and your actions show them the way to give back to their communities and those in need.  Rest assured that your service as a volunteer touches not only those you come to serve, but the unit staff as well.  I would like to thank you for your dedication to our agency.


Madeline Ortiz, Division Director