Thousands of in-kind donations of time from volunteers, jail residents, and friends are what sustain VHJR's programs, as well as contributions of $1 to $200 from generous individuals, churches, organizations, and businesses.  

VHJR also works closely with other service organizations in the Ellsworth-area community.  VHJR gratefully accepts donations and grants to assist with program enhancement, post-release services, VHJR's volunteer-mentoring program, and relationship and new leadership building in greater Hancock County.

Other grants have been received from Maine Initiatives Foundation and a grant from the Self-Education Foundation, the Maine Coalition on Smoking and Health (that allowed us to begin group chemical addiction counseling for the jail residents).  Since that beginning we have received assistance from Maine Community FoundationSt. Francis Church Community Fund, Coastal Hancock Healthy Communities, St. Saviour's Church, Unitarian Congregation of Castine, Union River Healthy Communities, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Sparkplug Grant, and a generous array of caring groups and individuals.  

This early introduction of rehabilitation services by VHJR and the services at Hancock County Jail grew into a full-service program. Open Door Recovery Center of Ellsworth, Maine started providing the first in-jail rehab in the state of Maine, now continued by Hancock County Drug Court, Healthy Acadia, and other providers working with them. We are grateful to the Hancock County Jail administrators, and to the Jail Residents for making this possible.


An article from Bangor Metro Magazine
"Help Behind Bars."  (Small corrections: There is mention here that VHJR has been paid for our work -- we haven't -- and that staff is needed to protect us. While this is correct in theory, we've never had a single safety incident with a jail resident).   

Hope Magazine featured our volunteer work -- how we started and how we all 
benefit from our jail programs -- in "Bridging the Gap."  

Working Waterfront summarized VHJR's goals and programs 
in "Downeast Volunteers Keep Jail Residents Connected."                 


A few Radio Interviews about VHJR Programs:

Click HERE for RadioActive about Jail Residents' Art Show, Bo Lozoff and VHJR programs.
WERU-FM Community Radio, 89.9 Blue Hill, ME 

 Click HERE   for other stories about VHJR on RadioActive - WERU FM


If you are interested in finding out more about Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents 
please contact us at -- 

but first, please read through our website to find out more about what we do.

Copyright 2001 - 2024: 
Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents (VHJR)
Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents (VHJR)

The residents of Hancock County Jail have unique talents and resources, as well as the courage to improve their lives.  They are our friends, neighbors, and relatives who will rejoin us on the "outside" after their sentences.  Many of the jail residents are young and many have chemical addiction illnesses. Others are there because they owe fines and cannot bail themselves out. 

Regardless of the reasons for incarceration, VHJR volunteers are interested in incorporating our incarcerated citizens into positive roles in the community by providing restorative assistance.  But rather than entering the jail with the idea of "changing" anyone, we are simply there to share community support, friendship, and a greater feeling of belonging.

Hancock County Jail is located in Ellsworth, Maine.  As Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents (VHJR), we are dedicated to building a communication bridge between jail residents and the larger outside community. We are a nonsectarian, nonprofit, all-volunteer organization under the fiscal sponsorship of ROSC., a 501c3 charitable organization.

Post Release Re-Entry News 

NB: Much has changed since COVID restrictions.  
Other Hancock County Jail advocates now include 
Healthy Acadia. We also recommend 
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition (MPAC).

VHJR volunteers, in conjunction with others in Hancock County, have always been involved 
with Re-Entry and Post Release needs, now working with MPAC.

Funding for strategic planning and grassroots community outreach has been received from 
Maine Community FoundationMaine Initiatives, Unitarian Congregation of Castine,
St. Francis Church Community Fund and many other groups and individuals. 

 "Incarceration in Maine -- What Can We Change? 
     Building Community from the 'Inside' Out"  

 "Local Drifters Fall through the Safety Net" -- Working Waterfront 

       Bangor Daily News article about post-release planning. 

"A Different Perspective --
  Art from the Inside"          
"Prison Inmates Show Art"                                                             
Art lovers enjoy the unique artwork at 
The Grand.   The “Inside Art” exhibit 
featured a variety of artwork by current 
and former residents of HCJ.
Photo by Cathy Shane, Ellsworth American
How sad it is that we give up on people who are just like us.” 
-- Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
"Our lives begin to end 
the day we become silent about things that matter."      
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Not Nameless Inmates, but Our Neighbors" --  Stan Moody
"Mandala with Eye" 
by George Taylor IV  

"No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones." 
-- Nelson Mandela
Contact MPAC 
to learn about 
Parole Legislation.