Are you interested in joining us but want more information first? Or do you just want a better understanding of what we do? Take a look at our FAQs to get more informed about how you can work with CHIP to help support the incarcerated population in South Florida. If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to Contact Us. Once you’re satisfactorily informed, visit our Volunteer page to sign up!
Questions About CHIP’s Work
- What is the COVID-19 situation like in South Florida Jails?
- Wow! That’s awful. What is CHIP doing to help?
- We take calls from incarcerated people to record how the jails are (or are failing to) address the issues that have arisen from the pandemic. We then share this information with the public to raise awareness. And when we can, we advocate for the people who call us to ensure they get the treatment, representation, and resources they need.
- How did CHIP get started?
- On April 5, 2020, a group of South Florida abolitionists were doing a noise demo in solidarity with prisoners and, in solidarity with the Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee’s nationwide efforts to establish jail hotlines, decided to share a phone number with people inside. From that moment, organizers began to receive calls as the number was shared inside South Florida jails. Over the next week or two, organizers used noise demos to spread the number to other jails and formed the COVID-19 Hotline for Incarcerated People.
- How is CHIP organized?
- A Steering Committee handles the organizational, financial, and planning functions of the hotline, while volunteers staff the hotline.
Questions about Volunteering
- What do CHIP volunteers do?
- There are a variety of ways to volunteer with CHIP, but the bread and butter is answering calls from incarcerated people on our hotline, and entering and processing information you receive on the calls. However, in addition to taking calls, there are also opportunities to help behind the scenes with things like web design, data processing, research and advocacy work, and in person events like protests or jail support.
- Will I be trained?
- Of course! We have a training video and document that explains the process of taking calls in depth, and you also have the option of doing a mock call with an experienced volunteer before you sign up to take your first real call. The volunteer team is very helpful and will answer any questions you have or tricky situations you face.
- What is the time commitment?
- You will sign up for 2 hour shifts, between the hours of 9AM-9PM on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. You can sign up for as few or as many shifts as you want, provided you do your absolute best to work the shifts you sign up for, and only sign up for shifts you fully intend to work. We also ask you to reserve a little time during the 24 hours after each shift to complete any follow-up calls, emails, or other research you committed to do.
- What happens if I can’t meet my schedule?
- Again, please do your absolute best to work the shifts you sign up for, and don’t sign up for shifts unless you fully intend to honor them. However, we know that unexpected circumstances arise, and will work together as a team to cover for each other during those times.
Questions about Takings Calls
- Are there any risks involved in taking calls from incarcerated people?
- While we understand that society trains us to be fearful of the incarcerated population, please remember that they are just people and not the monsters we are trained to see them as. Many people in jail don’t even have a conviction and are just there because they can’t pay bail! Simply talking to an incarcerated person over the phone involves no more risk than talking with anyone you don’t know well. As you would when talking to any stranger, be careful not to give out any personal or identifying information.
- What about legal risks?
- There are a few things we need to be careful about to keep the hotline up and running, and to make sure our callers don’t get in trouble, but there should be no legal risks for volunteers who are working on the hotline and following training guidelines. More info will be provided upon training.
- Will the callers be able to see my phone number?
- Nope! They will be calling you through our hotline number. We use a service that redirects calls to volunteers’ phones. Your number will only be seen by the other volunteers.
- Do I need to pay to accept calls?
- No, we have a credit card on file that we use to pay for calls.
- What do I need to take calls?
- You need a cell phone to accept the calls, a computer to type out the information you’re given and consult necessary files, and the ability to text with other volunteers in case you need help.
- What jails are we accepting calls from?
- Currently we are taking calls from jails in Broward County and Palm Beach County.
- How do I sign up?
- Please check out out Volunteer page! We are excited to work with you!