Inmate Programs

The Mission of the Programs Unit is to provide Multnomah County inmates, programs and services that will increase opportunities for them to become productive members of the community. Through the development of individual motivation, skills, and abilities; we aim to enhance the safety and security of our community and facilities while also satisfying constitutional/statutory requirements.

Services are linked to three main components:
  • Inmate Management: Enhance supervision of inmates in jail facilities to maintain a safe humane environment and ensure compliance with statutory mandates.
  • Jail Bed Management: Maximize efficient use of jail beds without compromising public safety.
  • Public Safety Management: Enhance public safety by implementing practices that potentially decrease offender booking frequency

This Unit is comprised of Inmate Mail, Corrections Counseling and Volunteer Services.

Inmate Mail

To ensure inmates are provided a means of communication for both personal and professional purposes the Programs staff coordinate and process all offender mail. The Corrections Division’s Inmate Mail handling procedures support the inmate’s need to communicate in writing to carry out legal interests, maintain family and community ties, and seek resources upon release. This process meets the jail’s need for efficient operations that preserve the order, safety, and security of the facility, inmates, and staff. The mail room staff process approximately 1,600 pieces of mail daily.

Corrections Counselors

Corrections Counselors are an integral part of the MCSO corrections process. They work to reduce levels of incarceration anxiety and increase safety for everyone by maintaining cooperative working relationships with inmates and facility staff. They assess inmates for custody level housing placement and specific needs regarding physical/mental health, preferred religion, learning/communicating difficulties, group programming (E.g. education/resources/certificate/coping skills) and alcohol/drug referral. Corrections Counselors also provide the essential services of; processing inmate mail, providing notary services, law library coordination, and act as liaison to criminal justice partners and social service agencies.

Volunteer Services

Volunteers and community partners assist the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to achieve its organizational mission of providing quality cost effective prevention, intervention, and detention services to the community. On average, over 200 volunteers contribute approximately 8,000 hours of service to the Corrections Division. By proactively monitoring the agency’s needs, we seek professionals looking to share their time and expertise in many areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

A comprehensive Inmate Guide is available for your convenience. Additionally, you can view detailed instructions on how to send mail to an inmate, effective December 1, 2013, by clicking on the image below:


Each of our more than 200 volunteers help MCSO to achieve its mission of providing quality cost-effective prevention, intervention, and detention services to the community, while also gaining an in-depth understanding and education of the criminal justice system. We respect and value the unique contributions of community volunteers, and work to match your particular skills and interests to needed areas including, but not limited to the following:

  • Citizen's Patrol
  • Clerical Support
  • Group Facilitators- Substance Abuse Recovery Groups (AA, NA, DDA)
    - Meditation/Relaxation
  • Information Technology Services
  • Internships (Corrections, Enforcement & Business Services mainly Summer term)
  • Special Projects
Opportunities vary depending on agency needs, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for the most current openings.


Applicants must consent to a thorough background check including fingerprinting, criminal history review, driving record, and personal references. All applicants must complete a personal interview and attend an orientation and training session prior to placement. A six-month commitment is required for most placements, with the exception of one year for AA/NA volunteers. Days and hours are determined by the type of placement. Below are additional access requirements:

  • Access shall be denied for any Class A: Felony convictions.
  • Incarceration for any misdemeanor within the last three years may be cause for denial of access.
  • Incarceration for any felony with the last five years may be cause for denial of access.
  • Being currently or having been, within the last three years, under the supervision of any correctional, probation, parole, custodial treatment, pre- trial or post-adjudication release program may be cause for denial of access.
  • For AA and/or NA Services, volunteers must have three years clean, two years sober.

How to Apply

You can either fill out the online application below, or contact the MCSO Volunteer Services office by phone at 503-988-3390 or email at Volunteer Services