Concord Prison Outreach

Concord Prison Outreach (CPO) is a non-profit organization[1] based in Concord, Massachusetts and dates back to 1968.[2][3] The organization is independent, volunteer-driven and maintains an active steering committee and board of directors.[4]

CPO operates with the support of approximately 35 Massachusetts faith-based organizations, as well as with the support of individuals from around the state. At any given point in time the organization maintains over 100 working volunteers in the Massachusetts' prisons.[5] The organization is considered the largest of its kind in Massachusetts.[6][7][8]

CPO reports their programs are meant to challenge, change and improve the lives of the participants.[9] The organization's list of program offerings includes:[10]

  • Anger management,[7]
  • Personal and emotional improvement,[11]
  • Basic adult education and high school equivalency,[12]
  • ESL,
  • Managing money,
  • Parenting groups,
  • the "Read to me, Daddy" program,
  • Library services,
  • Computer skills,
  • Art for the community,[13]
  • Job search skills,
  • Re-entry support,
  • Writing skills,
  • Book discussion groups,
  • Math for college placement,
  • book drives for children of inmates,[14][15]
  • and other outreach projects.[16]

The details of CPO's origins can be read in the interview[17] given by Jean Bell and Diana Clymer to Renee Garrelick, for the Concord oral history program.[18] They talk extensively about the beginnings of the program, the changes happening, and the initial reaction to computer and calligraphy classes for inmates that soon grew to nine teachers working with 400 inmates at the Concord prison. Over the past 30 years these programs have continued to develop and offer life skills for inmates at Concord and other prisons in the area. Author Robin Casarjian's book "Houses of Healing" [19] is required reading for one of the program's courses dealing with coping strategies and stress management .[20]

The organization has a collaborative relationship with the Massachusetts "Alternatives to Violence Program".[21] CPO also has a long-standing working relationship with the administration of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, though both organizations remain operationally independent of each other.[22]

Administratively the organization runs with the help of a paid executive director who answers to the board of directors. Representatives from member churches and synagogues make up the organization's steering committee. CPO maintains offices in West Concord, Massachusetts. Financially, the organization has maintained a strong balance sheet through donations from its member churches and synagogues, endowments and from individual contributors.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lincoln Journal, Dec 2, 1990, by T. Frost
  2. ^ Boston Globe, June 28, 2007: "Concord volunteer gives prisoners a chance",
  3. ^ Concord Public Library Oral History Project: Interview with Jean Bell
  4. ^ "About CPO,". Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Carlisle Mosquito, Sept 17, 1999
  6. ^ From the Feb 21, 2013 presentation to the CPO Board of Directors by Veronica Madden, Director of Inmate Training & Education, Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
  7. ^ a b Boston Globe, Dec 11, 1994, by J. Taylor: "Volunteers guide Concord inmates through life skills"
  8. ^ "Holidays in Prison, Boston Magazine". Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Boston Globe, May 27, 1990, by S. Britton: "Band of Volunteers Teaching Concord Inmates"
  10. ^ "Programs at Concord Prison from". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Boston Globe, June 28, 2007, by C. Cantrell: "Concord volunteer gives prisoners a chance"
  12. ^ Boston Globe, Nov 19, 1996, by Z. Dowdy, "Volunteers teach, preach within Mass prison walls"
  13. ^ Boston Globe, March 18, 2004, by Amanda Lowe: "Inmates' artwork brightens retirement home's rooms"
  14. ^ Concord Journal, Dec 23, 2010: "Book drive is under way by Concord Prison Outreach"
  15. ^ Concord Journal, Dec 9, 2010, "Concord Prison outreach book drive is under way"
  16. ^ Boston Globe, Dec 8, 2995 by Nancy West: "Reaching out a hand to inmates"
  17. ^ "CPO Interview(Jan 1999)via the Concord Oral History Program,". Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "Concord Oral History Program collection,". Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Houses of healing, Lionheart foundation". Retrieved 13 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Carlisle Mosquito, March 22, 2002 by Marilyn Harte: "Concord prison volunteers make an impact"
  21. ^ Lincoln Journal Nov 23, 2007, by T. Frost: "Shining lights and warming hearts"
  22. ^ Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Official Website: "Northeastern Correctional Center"
  23. ^ ImpulCorporation Report, March 19, 2013

External linksEdit