All faculty, tutors, and other volunteers who work at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) are required to complete a certification process and training to become a Volunteer-in-Corrections (VIC) with the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC). Becoming a VIC will allow you to regularly enter MECC. The process involves several steps: a VIC application, tuberculosis test, an on-site interview, and a DOC-facilitated VIC training.
We encourage anyone working with PEP to begin this process as soon as possible, as it takes several weeks to complete. You should plan on beginning this process at least 6 weeks before the semester begins.
VIC Application Process Checklist
- Complete VIC application
- Submit TB test results
- Attend interview at MECC
- Attend VILT (virtual VIC) training
Anyone who is teaching a semester-long class or tutoring with PEP must apply and complete the training to become a Volunteer-in-Corrections (VIC). You may not begin teaching or tutoring at the prison until you complete this process, which has a number of steps and takes several weeks to complete.
Please follow the steps below carefully. Review all the steps before you submit your application.
1. VIC Application
After completing the VIC application, please email a copy to Jesse Amsden, the MECC Institutional Activities Coordinator (IAC) (Jesse.Amsden@doc.mo.gov) or Angelica Boyd, the WERDCC IAC (Angelica.Boyd@doc.mo.gov), cc-ing PEP Program Coordinator Savannah Sowell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Prison Education Project (email@example.com).
The VIC application requires you to disclose prior arrests and convictions and provide a summary explanation. Let us know if you have questions or concerns about this.
Template VIC Application Email:
Dear Mr. Amsden,
Attached you will find my VIC application. I am planning on teaching [class name] with Washington University during [semester and year]/tutoring with Washington University during [semester and year].
Before the training, I understand that I will need to come in for an interview. I am available [insert availability]. I will also submit my TB test results before my VIC training.
Thank you for your help, and please let me know if you need any further information from me.
2. Tuberculosis (TB) Testing
You must obtain two Mantoux Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) two-step tuberculin tests (this is a standard test). Each of the two tests consists of two different steps. You should start this process immediately.
Each two-step TB test requires you to receive the skin test, and the results must be read by a health professional within a 48-72 hour period after getting the skin test. After the first negative TB test, you need a second TB test, which must be administered at least a week following the first read date, and the results, once again, read within 48-72 hours after receiving the skin test. Please note that the timing of the tests is important: your second test has to be administered at least a week after the first test is read, otherwise it is not considered valid. The results of the test must also be reported in millimeters (i.e., 0 mm for a negative test). After the initial two-step TB test, in order to stay current with your TB status, VICs are required to receive and submit proof of a negative TB test every year during the month of their birth.
If you are a current WashU student, we recommend obtaining your TB test from the Habif Health and Wellness Center to avoid incurring unexpected costs. PEP is no longer able to reimburse volunteers for any expenses related to TB testing.
Where to Send Your TB Test Results
Alternatives to TB Skin Test
Receiving one TB blood test instead of two two-step TB skin tests is an acceptable alternative. Please note that two skin tests are required as opposed to one blood test. If you receive a blood test, you will also need to submit an AHRS form along with your TB test results.
You can receive your TB tests from the nurse at MECC. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for her most recent testing schedule. You can also get tested through your primary care physician, health care provider, or certain Walgreens or CVS drug stores that have in-store “health clinics.”
3. VIC Interview
Once you have submitted your application, you will be contacted to set up an interview at MECC.
At the interview, you will be asked a few questions, such as why you wish to become a VIC. You will also be given a few hypothetical scenarios, such as what would you do if an incarcerated individual asked you to carry out and mail a letter outside of the prison (the correct answer is no!). The interviews take place at MECC or WERDCC, and if there is time, you may be taken on a tour of the facility.
4. VIC Training
To finalize your status as a Volunteer-in-Corrections, you will need to attend a training session with a DOC official. Currently, the DOC offers online trainings known as VILT. Please contact PEP Coordinator Savannah Sowell (email@example.com) for the latest training dates and assistance in registering for a training.
5. Obtain VIC ID Badge
Once you have completed steps 1-4, you will be issued a VIC ID badge along with a secondary ID.
You must make an appointment through Jesse Amsden (Jesse.Amsden@doc.mo.gov) or Angelica Boyd (Angelica.Boyd@doc.mo.gov) during MECC or WERDCC administrative business hours in order to get your picture taken and obtain your VIC badge and secondary ID. This can usually happen prior to your first class or tutoring session if you make arrangements to come early.
6. Maintaining your VIC Status
Congratulations on finalizing your VIC training!
In order for your VIC status to remain current, there are a couple things you must do annually:
- During the month of your birth each year, you must receive one two-step TB skin test or TB blood test. Even if your birth month comes earlier than a year after your initial VIC training is finalized, you must get another TB test. Contact PEP for the MECC nurse’s TB testing schedule or send your results from a third-party provider to firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
- Your VIC training expires each year. You should be contacted by the DOC and/or PEP at least one month before your training expires regarding your returning VIC session.