Buddy Program

The Illinois Prison Project (IPP) is a young nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce mass incarceration by providing legal services to individuals incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). We focus on novel and creative approaches to decarceration including mass commutation campaigns, sentence restructuring, public education, and advocacy. We work for a more sensible and humane prison system in Illinois by advocating for and on behalf of thousands of people who are needlessly incarcerated.

Program Description

We are looking for Volunteer Buddies to help people newly released from prison adjust to the complexities of modern life.  Volunteer Buddies will provide crucial, non-legal friendship and assistance with the challenges of daily life.  Many of our clients have been incarcerated for over 20 years and usually have very limited experience with the Internet, cell phones, and other technological advances. Volunteer Buddies will help our clients navigate these new systems and other day-to-day complexities that many people take for granted. No legal experience or specific expertise is necessary.  All Volunteer Buddies must have a working proficiency with cell phones, basic computing, email, and Zoom.  We ask for a minimum commitment of six months.  Prior to being assigned a buddy, the Volunteer Buddies will attend a 1-hour training by one of our staff members, which will include time for questions.

What kinds of things do buddies help former clients with?

  • Transportation to appointments
  • Assistance learning how to use public transportation
  • Moral support and encouragement
  • Learning technology
  • Job applications
  • Apartment/home rental applications
  • Booking appointments
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Drivers License

What kinds of things do buddies NOT help with?

  • Financial support
  • Room and board
  • Legal matters, including release or registry requirements
  • Case management
  • Mental health crisis that require professional intervention
  • Romantic or personal relationships

How to Apply

To apply in English, fill out the form at bit.ly/ippbuddy.

To apply in Spanish, fill out the form at bit.ly/ippbuddyesp.