The Petey Greene Program has been active in Massachusetts since the Spring of 2015. We recruit, train and coordinate undergraduate and graduate student volunteers to serve as academic tutors and teaching assistants (TAs) at 9 different correctional facilities in the area. We recruit volunteers primarily from Boston University, Clark University, Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, and Wellesley College. Our tutors and TAs serve incarcerated students across academic levels - adult basic education, high school equivalency (formerly GED), English as a second language (ESL), as well as college courses. This page is intended for potential volunteers who are interested in learning more about the Boston program 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 enrolled in high school equivalency (formerly known as the GED) programs. 

In addition, Boston has many volunteer opportunities for teaching assistants (TAs) who support incarcerated college level classes. For these classes, we recruit graduate students as volunteer TAs. Our TAs are matched with specific instructors in a facility and support the professor both inside and outside of the classroom. 

TA responsibilities may include:

  • Leading discussions
  • Creating study guides
  • Holding one-on-one conferences
  • Summarizing classes
  • Leading study halls sessions  
  • Conducting research for the class

In a variation of this model we coordinate graduate and undergraduate volunteers to work as in-class tutors or within study halls, answering questions and meeting individually with incarcerated college students.

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. Typically, our tutoring calendar follows the academic calendar. 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 attend.


Massachusetts offers a plethora of volunteer opportunities at various educational levels. Our volunteer tutors work with students taking high school equivalency (formerly GED), adult basic education, English as a second language (ESL), college entrance exam or college classes. Our TAs support classes at local prisons under the Boston University Prison Education Program (BUPEP). BUPEP grants incarcerated students, who have completed the required coursework, an accredited bachelor’s degree.

We pair volunteers at the following partner correctional institutions: Massachusetts Correctional Institution Norfolk, Massachusetts Correctional Institution Framingham, Massachusetts Correctional Institution Concord, Massachusetts Correctional Institution Shirley, South Middlesex Correctional Center, Boston Pre-Release Center, Middlesex County House of Correction, Essex County Correctional Facility, and Worcester County House of Correction.

correctional facilities

The following interactive map shows where the facilities we work in are located, as well more detail about the facilities themselves and the tutoring opportunities.


Volunteers travel via university van, Zipcar, personal car, train, or carpool, depending on what is available. Upon acceptance, consult with about which option is best for you. All personal transportation expenses are reimbursable.

Correctional facilities are not located in easy-to-get to places, so we appreciate your understanding of the difficulties we face planning your transportation.


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.

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 read 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, 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. 

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.