The Petey Greene Program will be the national leader of quality tutoring and related educational services to support incarcerated students in achieving their academic goals. The Petey Greene volunteer experience will inspire our alumni to advocate and take on leadership roles that will re-imagine the criminal justice system. We envision a world in which all incarcerated people have access to high quality academic programs.


The Petey Greene Program supplements education in correctional institutions by preparing volunteers, primarily college students, to provide free, quality tutoring and related programming to support the academic achievement of incarcerated people.


The Petey Greene Program has been active in New York since the Fall of 2014. We recruit, train and coordinate volunteers to serve as academic tutors and Teaching Assistants at six different correctional facilities in the area, recruiting undergraduate and graduate students from Columbia University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York University, and from the wider community. This page is intended for potential tutors who are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities and, if appropriate, applying to participate in them.

Volunteer commitment

The volunteer opportunity is a weekly commitment, with tutoring sessions typically lasting 2 hours, sustained for at least one academic semester, but preferably two. Consistency is crucial for our students' academic success and is something that sets us apart from other volunteering programs. As such, volunteers are required to tutor weekly throughout the academic semester, with the exception of academic breaks and exam periods.


There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available within our program in New York. They involve different correctional facilities and educational programs, and have different eligibility requirements. 

correctional facilities

The interactive map below shows the various correctional facilities which we are active at in New York and in the surrounding area. Click on the various map points for more information.


Rikers Island

Rikers Island is a complex made up of multiple jails. We work in six of them, supporting adolescents and young adults, both male and female, who are enrolled in high school or college courses. We have three programs at Rikers: High school, the Inside-Out Program, and Housing Unit tutoring.

The High School courses on Rikers are run by the New York City Department of Education. Tutors work in the school classrooms Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the school day (8AM-3PM).

The Inside-Out Program is an international program started at Temple University in the late 1990s. In the program, college professors get certified from Temple University. Following certification, professors host weekly seminars with a group of "outside" students, taking the class inside a correctional facility alongside "inside" students. We support the partnership between St. John's University, Manhattan College, and the DOC by recruiting Teaching Assistants to run recitations and writing labs during the weekday, from 3-6PM

Housing Unit tutoring is reserved for volunteers with experience working in correctional facilities or with under-served populations. These opportunities take place during late afternoon, evening, and weekend hours.

Adult Programming is a pilot program starting at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island. The students are pre-trial men working towards passing the TASC. Tutors who specialize in math/science or English/history are needed on Monday from 4:30-6:30PM.

If you are interested in volunteering at Rikers, please indicate in your application which program(s) you would like to apply for. To interview for one of these programs, you must have availability corresponding to the availability indicated above.

Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn

MDC Brooklyn is a federal administrative detention facility. We work closely with the facility's Education Department to support their students. Tutors provide supplemental one-on-one support for men in GED, pre-GED (9th grade and below), and ESL classes. Tutoring times are Monday through Friday, 8-10AM and 1:00-3:00PM and Monday 6-8PM

Edgecombe residential treatment Facility

Edgecombe Residential Treatment Facility is a New York State correctional facility which houses men who have violated parole. Tutors at Edgecombe support students who are preparing for the CUNY Assessment Tests in Reading and Writing (CAT-R and CAT-W), which are administered within the facility. This program is in partnership with the John Jay Prisoner Reentry Institute. Tutoring sessions will be held Saturdays from 12:30-3:00 PM. These positions are only open to volunteers who have completed their bachelors degree or who hold a graduate degree.


Taconic Correctional Facility is a New York State correctional facility for women, located in Westchester County, New York. Our volunteers work with Hudson Link to support students enrolled in college preparatory and college-level courses. We are currently recruiting college writing tutors. Tutoring sessions follow a study hall format and are held on weekday evenings (6-8 PM). These positions are only open to volunteers who have completed a Bachelor's degree and who have applicable tutoring and/or professional experience. 

Brentwood Residential center for girls

Brentwood Residential Center for Girls is located in the central Long Island community of Dix Hills, New York. The youth served are female adjudicated juvenile delinquents, generally between the ages of 12 and 18, placed with New York State Office of Children & Family Services by the New York State Family Courts. We currently support the students there by offering Regents and other exam prep. 

Tutoring takes place Wednesdays, from 1:30-4PM. If you are traveling via public transit, we recommend that you catch the Ronkonkoma LIRR train from NY Penn Station at 12:14pm to Deer Park, and the 4:27PM or 5:03PM train to come back. The facility will pick tutors up and drop them off before and after sessions.

Passages Academy

Passages Academy is a New York City Department of Education school that provides educational services to students in detention or placement settings. The students are ages 16 and younger and receive middle school and high school instruction. We are currently seeking tutors for four of the Passages facilities, at the following times:

  • Horizon (Bronx): Wednesday and Friday from 1:00-3:30PM
  • Ryer (Bronx): Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4PM-6PM
  • Crossroads (Brooklyn): Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:00-5:30PM
  • South Ozone (Queens): Monday from 9AM-12PM


Facility Minimum Age Social Security Number Education Level* Government Issued ID
Rikers Island 18+ Yes Bachelor's Yes
MCC New York 21+ No Bachelor's Yes
MDC Brooklyn 21+ No Bachelor's Yes
Edgecombe 21+ Yes Completed Bachelor's Degree Yes
Taconic 21+ Yes Completed Bachelor's Degree Yes
Brentwood 21+ No Bachelor's Yes

* Completed degree or in progress, i.e., current undergraduates pursuing bachelor's degrees are eligible to tutor on Rikers Island.

Scheduling availability*

Facility Weekday Availability Weekend Availability Evening Availability
Rikers Island 8:50am-2:20pm
(2-hour slot, High School);
3:00-6:00PM (Inside-Out)
Limited No
MCC New York 8:00am-9:30am;
5:45pm- 7:00pm
No No
MDC Brooklyn 8:00am-10:00am;
6:00pm-8:00pm (Monday)
No No
Edgecombe No Saturday
Taconic No No Monday - Friday
(2 hour slot)
Brentwood 1:00-4:00PM (Wednesdays only) No No

* When considering times that work for you, please factor in travel time to each facility.

population served

Facility Men Women Adolescents (17 and Under) Young Adults and Adults (18+)
Rikers Island Yes Yes Yes Yes
MCC New York Yes Yes No Yes
MDC Brooklyn Yes No No Yes
Edgecombe Yes No No Yes
Taconic No Yes No Yes
Brentwood No Yes Yes No

educational programs supported

Facility College Courses High School / HSE (GED / TASC) Adult Basic Education / pre-GED English as a Second Language CUNY Assessment Test Preparation
Rikers Island No Yes No Yes No
MCC New York No Yes Yes Yes No
MDC Brooklyn No Yes Yes Yes No
Edgecombe No No No No Yes
Taconic Yes No No No No
Brentwood No Yes No No No


Thank you for your interest in tutoring with the Petey Greene Program. Our application consists of an online form which is at the bottom of this page. We will then select applicants for an in-person interview, before making our final decision.

Because of the sensitive nature of the work we do, we want to be sure we provide all of our applicants in advance as much information as possible, so that they can make an informed decision to participate. Please go through the following items below before applying:

  1. The process of becoming a tutor is selective.  We are looking for individuals who have a passion for education and a commitment to social justice. It is also important that our volunteers are able to deal with the challenges of working within a correctional facility and are able to adapt to unexpected circumstances throughout their time with us.

  2. The Petey Greene Program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, status as a U.S. veteran or criminal record.

  3. All tutoring is done on a volunteer basis and no tutors are paid by the Petey Greene Program for their work. If you are looking for a community service opportunity for student aid, the Petey Greene program welcomes your application.

  4. All tutors will be required to pass a background check to enter the correctional facilities to tutor students. The Petey Greene Program does not control the background verification process and cannot guarantee that you’ll be approved, or how quickly you'll be approved (clearance time ranges from 1 to 3 months). 

  5. The Petey Greene Program expects that you will honor your commitment to tutoring and attend a tutoring session once a week through the academic semester, excluding exam periods and academic breaks. If you feel that your schedule might prevent you from honoring your commitment, you may want to consider applying at another time.

  6. We will reimburse transportation to and from the correctional facilities by car or by public transport, from within New York City's five boroughs or as otherwise agreed. 

If you have any further questions, please contact us at

You are also welcome to sign up to our mailing list below in order to keep up to date with new volunteer opportunities.

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