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  • Tom Booth

Prison Chess


The heavy prison doors clanging shut after you enter are at first a bit intimidating. But you soon get used to it. Your visits to the prison become very enjoyable. Just good chess and friends, like any chess club.

If you have some extra time, become a volunteer at a prison. The chess is enjoyable, and you are greatly appreciated by the inmates. They realize that volunteers are giving up their time to help an unpopular group.

I've been a volunteer at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon. A large, well-run prison. It has been a very rewarding experience. One meets interesting people and avid chess players. The staff at this prison has been very, very supportive.

Some prison systems are more supportive than others concerning volunteers. The Oregon Prison System has been exceptionally supportive. They have many volunteers for many different activities.

When you contact a prison, ask to speak to someone on the "prison volunteer staff" or, possibly, the "recreation staff." Just realize that you will be helping many appreciative inmates as well as society by your volunteering. Also, your chess game might improve. Mine did!

Tom Booth

Caldwell, Idaho

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