Volunteer Information

The Polk County Jail provides a variety of classes and programs to inmates.  Volunteer opportunities range from one on one counseling to group educational services. The Jail is able to offer a variety of programs for the inmates to participate in because of the dedicated volunteers and agency facilitators.  Volunteer applications are accepted at any time. 

Persons with an interest in facilitating the Tobacco Education, Cage Your Rage and Stress Management Programs, working in our library or vounteering with any other program or service are encouraged to submit an application.

Jail Volunteer Application


There are meetings scheduled each week that are facilitated by volunteer representatives from local Alcoholics Anonymous (English and Spanish) and Narcotics Anonymous groups.  

The Jail works with many agencies in the community who donate their staff time to provide educational groups to the inmates.    

Lutheran Services of Iowa facilitates the Parenting Program at the jail.

MECCA Services facilitates the Gambles Education groups that are offered. 

Polk County Health Department has taken an active role in facilitating the Health Education program at the jail.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa facilitates a health related program called Strong Bodies, Proud Lives.

Primary Health Care Homeless Outreach staff come to the jail weekly to talk with any inmate who requests their services.

Des Moines Area Community College provides these programs:English As A Second Language, General Equivalency Diploma and General Life Skills.   The jail is a GED test site, and inmates can complete their five GED tests at the jail and receive their GED while in custody. 

Des Moines Public Schools provides a teacher who meets with any student who is 20 years old or younger, to work towards their High School Diploma.

Prison Health Services is the contracted medical agency at the jail and they provide the Substance Abuse Education program.    

An Introduction to Small Business Program was started by a successful local business leader who had a vision to teach inmates about running their own business. 

The jail also has an Inmate Release Handbook, clothing closet on site and a bus token program to assist any indigent inmate upon release.

Chaplain Programs

The Chaplain's Office headed by Jerry VanCleave provides for the religious materials, counseling and studies at the jail.  The Chaplain's Office coordinates requests for inmate pastoral visits which are provided through video visitation terminals.

For more information on Polk County Jail Ministries or how to volunteer, visit here: Polk County Jail Ministry