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 Philadelphia since the Spring of 2015. We recruit, train and coordinate volunteers to serve as academic tutors at four different correctional facilities in the area, including two juvenile centers. Our tutors are primarily undergraduate students from Haverford College, Saint Joseph’s University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania, but we also welcome volunteers from the broader Philadelphia 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.


Our volunteers serve as academic tutors, working one-on-one or in small groups with incarcerated students in correctional facilities, in order to support their academic achievement. We primarily support students seeking their high school equivalency (formerly known as the GED) and high school diploma.

Volunteer commitment

The volunteer opportunity is a weekly commitment, with tutoring sessions typically lasting 3-4 hours including transportation time. 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.

All volunteers are required to complete a 5 hour training run by Petey Greene program staff.   The new volunteer must also complete the necessary facility clearance paperwork and attend a facility orientation. We will also host events and follow-up trainings that we will ask you to tend.


There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available within our program in Philadelphia. They involve different correctional facilities with distinct populations, and have different eligibility and travel requirements. Each facility requires volunteers to take an on-site orientation. The orientations vary in length and frequency. 

correctional facilities

As shown above, we work in four correctional facilities in Philadelphia and the surrounding area and these facilities are operated by four separate institutions. The Federal Detention Center is run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons while the Philadelphia Department of Prisons is operated by the city of Philadelphia. Both juvenile facilities, the Glen Mills School and VisionQuest, are privately run.

Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia (FDC)

700 Arch Street, Philadelphia

The FDC is a federal facility located in downtown Philadelphia, housing both male and female adults. Petey Greene tutors work with the female population either a Literacy or ESL (English as a Second Language) class. We support students through weekly one-on-one tutoring, Monday through Friday. The FDC is easily accessible by public transportation (SEPTA). Volunteers must be at least 21 and have a Social Security Number.

Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP)

7901 State Rd, Philadelphia

PDP consists of six facilities located on a campus in Northeast Philadelphia. We serve men and women at all six facilities - Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), Detention Center (DC), Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF), Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC), House of Correction (HOC), and Alternative and Special Detention (ASD). Our tutors support students through in-class tutoring in all subjects, ranging in difficulty from below a 5th grade level to GED preparation. Classes take place Monday through Friday, 9-11:30 AM or 1-3:30 PM. There are also a limited number of evening classes whose times vary by facility. PDP is easily accessible by public transportation (SEPTA). Volunteers must have a Social Security Number and attend two all-day Saturday orientation sessions.

VisionQuest Lee Prep (VisionQuest)

5201 Old York Road, Philadelphia

VisionQuest is a small juvenile detention center in North Philadelphia housing male and female adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 19. Our tutors serve in a computer lab setting, supporting students on online software to complete their high school requirements. Tutoring times are Monday through Thursday, 10 AM-12 PM and 1-3 PM. VisionQuest is easily accessible by public transportation (SEPTA).

The Glen Mills Schools (Glen Mills)

185 Glen Mills Road, Glen Mills
Glen Mills is a juvenile placement program for males between the ages of 14 and 18. Our tutors serve in a study hall setting, supporting students in Algebra and Geometry as they work to complete high school requirements on online software. These study halls take place Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-8 PM. Glen Mills is a 45 minute drive from Center City and is not accessible by public transportation, but tutors can drive their personal vehicle or use a Zip Car (both reimbursed).

The four tables below explain the differences between all of the facilities that we work at, including the different requirements for volunteers, the scheduling availability for volunteers, the populations that we serve, and the types of programs that we support through tutoring. 


All Petey Greene volunteers must be 18 years or older. They must be able to supply and bring with them each week a government issued ID (passport, state ID or driver’s licence).

Scheduling availability

Facility Weekday Availability Weekend Availability Evening Availability
FDC Yes No No
Glen Mills Yes No Yes
PDP Yes No Yes
VisionQuest Yes No No

population served

Facility Men Women Under 18 18+
FDC No Yes No Yes
Glen Mills Yes No Yes No
PDP Yes Yes No Yes
VisionQuest Yes Yes Yes No


Thank you for reading this far and 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.

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 and who will be able to deal with the challenges of working within a correctional facility and who will be able to develop their skills and adapt to unexpected circumstances throughout their time with us.
  2. 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.
  3. 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). 
  4. 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. Attendance will be taken. If you feel that your schedule might prevent you from honoring your commitment, you may want to consider applying at another time.
  5. We will reimburse transportation to and from the correctional facilities by car or public transit, personal vehicle, or ZipCar.

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.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at