TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter June 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter June 2014

Pet Therapy for Offenders with Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disabilities

pet therapy

The TDCJ is seeking trained professional volunteers in Pet Therapy to work with offenders with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities at the Jester IV Unit in Richmond, Texas.  Some of the benefits of Pet Therapy include;

  • Being able to hold and pet another living creature can provide a great deal of comfort.
  • Pets are nonjudgmental and do not criticize. Pets accept us the way we are.
  • Animals are often very trusting and can help build trust in ourselves and others. By watching them we learn we also are dependent and must rely on others.
  • Pets can often tell when people are sad or upset and respond in an attentive way.

  • Pets are great listeners. They do not interrupt.

  • We enjoy watching them and playing with them.

With these qualities, pets can act as co-therapists for a variety of people with special needs.



Volunteers are needed to facilitate and play softball, basketball and volleyball with offenders with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities in the Richmond and Gatesville areas.  For more information about working with offenders with mental disabilities contact Volunteer Services at 936-437-3026.

The Online Volunteer Application is DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE - The Interim Process Is Described Below

If you are interested in becoming an approved volunteer within the TDCJ, you are encouraged to attend a 4-hour volunteer training session at one of the facilities listed on the June - August Volunteer Training Schedule (see link below).  While the online application is down for maintenance, YOU DO NOT NEED A LETTER TO ATTEND A TRAINING.  YOU ARE, HOWEVER, REQUIRED TO CONTACT THE FACILITY TO ENSURE YOU ARE ON THE TRAINING ROSTER BEFORE ATTENDING THE TRAINING SESSION.

Completion of training is not a guarantee of approval; all applications, which will include a criminal background check are reviewed for eligibility.  If you have a specific question regarding your eligibility, please contact Volunteer Services at 936-437-3026.  Applications will be available at the training, however, you may choose to bring a completed Volunteer Application to the training.

If you are unable to attend a training session, prior to approval, or if you wish to be approved before attending, two options are available;  1) download the Volunteer Application, complete it electronically (on-screen), print, and send by fax or 2) download the Volunteer Application, print, complete it by hand, and send by postal mail. (See application for fax number and mailing address) Upon approval a letter will be sent with information regarding attending a training session.