The penal voluntary sector (PVS) is an important, complex, under-theorised area. Its non-profit, non-statutory organisations are highly significant in the operation of punishment around the world, yet ill-understood. Burgeoning scholarship has begun to examine specific parts of the sector, particularly individualised service delivery. We offer a five paradigm framework which more fully conceptualises the PVS, including different types of service delivery and important campaigning work. Our hybrid framework applies and extends Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) influential four paradigm model of social theory, which maps the theoretical diversity underpinning varying organisational activities. Our framework i) provides ideal-types which illustrate the range, fluidity and hybridity of PVS programmes and practices, and ii) highlights the (potential) roles of brokers in (re)directing activity.