January News

Vanderbilt Prison Project

Our Purpose

We are a service-based organization founded in 1972 that is committed to its purpose of inspiring and educating both the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities to collectively work towards an improvement in the current state of criminal justice system and all those affected by it either directly or indirectly including at-risk youth, inmates, those that have recently been released, and those affected by the incarceration of loved ones.

"Can You Speak the Language?" Taboo Event

We had a BLAST at our Taboo event! The competition was stiff and combative spirits arose(as can be seen in the pictures below), but it was all in the name of fun and education. Participants were highly engaged while learning the common vernacular of prison and jail institutions. Thanks to all who attended!

Upcoming Service Opportunities

Dismas House

Come serve dinner to returning citizens at the Dismas House! Sign up on Anchorlink ("Forms" tab).

We will be serving on the following dates:

  • Monday, January 20
  • Thursday, January 30

Please understand that if you sign up, you commit to volunteering on that day unless unforeseen issues arise!

Gideon's Army

Rasheedat Fetuga, founder of Gideon's Army, will be here today January 14 at 7PM in Buttrick 301. She will be here to further discuss our imminent, active roles with her organization, so we can get the ball rolling! Gideon's Army has a mission to, among other things, eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline and teach Nashville's youth benevolent alternatives to violence and delinquency.

Please attend the meeting if you are interested in volunteering with any of the Gideon's Army opportunities (i.e. social media, organizing church leaders, training in restorative justice). Want more info? Email Jordaan McGill.

The Next Door: Reading Buddies

The Next Door provides a continuum of evidence-based services for women and their families impacted by addiction, mental illness, trauma and/or incarceration with Christ-centered compassionate care. This organization offers a program called Reading Buddies in which volunteers teach reading comprehension skills to the children (ages 3-13) who belong to these women. We are tremendously enthused to begin a partnership!

Our next Reading Buddies volunteer opportunity will take place on this Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 6-7PM. Sign up on Anchorlink ("Forms" tab) if you are interested! REMEMBER, you are only eligible to participate if you have been to a Reading Buddies Training AND completed the forms. Please email Jordaan McGill or Dacia Green if you still need to attend a training session.

Upcoming Events

Death penalty discussion at Gillette: “Imprisonment and the Death Penalty”

Friday, Jan. 24th, 5:30-7pm

Gillete House, Vanderbilt University

Gillette House will host a special dinner guest, Prof. Lisa Guenther, of the VU Philosophy Dept. Prof. Guenther’s research areas are: Phenomenology, Feminism, and Prison Issues. Her most recent book is entitled Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives. Accompanying Prof. Guenther will be several graduate and undergraduate students. They will also be discussing the work of the Vanderbilt Prison Project and TN Students and Educators for Social Justice, which are activist groups dedicated to prison reform and positive social change.

We hope you can come, meet Prof. Guenther, the students, and join in this timely discussion about prison issues. Taziki’s (Greek cuisine) will be served! Below is a link to more information on Prof. Guenther:


Again, let’s come together to learn, meet, and eat! Please RSVP to Dr. Dobson at frank.dobson@vanderbilt.edu

Teach-In on the Death Penalty

Monday, Jan. 27th, 5:30-7pm

Alumni Hall 201, Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Prison Project is co-hosting with the Department of Philosophy on an event to educate the community on the death penalty and its ramifications. This event will consist of a panel discussion, involving different perspectives and providing a more whole view of this aspect of our criminal justice system. Free pizza will be served and all are welcome! http://pub.lucidpress.com/4781-d554-52d2b949-8597-31f20a005548/

Death Penalty Conference at TSU

Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP) is holding a Student Conference on the Death Penalty at TSU on February 22. Here's a link to the event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tadp-student-conference-on-the-death-penalty-tickets-8937445139

General Body Meeting

There will be a GB meeting held on Sunday, January 26 at 7PM. Mark your calendars! We will notify you of the room ASAP. We ask that everyone please be in attendance.

Leadership Positions

Organizational Liasion & Community Service Co-chair

VPP is looking for diligent, punctual, and dedicated persons to fill these positions.

  • The duties of the organizational liaison include but are not limited to coordinating co-sponsorships, and serving as a resource between VPP and the Vanderbilt and Greater Nashville communities.

  • The duties of the community service co-chair include but are not limited to heading Prison Projects programs with Juvenile Justice Center, Dismas House, and other organizations that further the goals of the Vanderbilt Prison Project, organizing transportation, and communicating with service teams for each specific project.

If you are interested, complete the app which can be found on Anchorlink ("Documents" tab) and send it to vanderbiltprisonprojects@vanderbilt.edu by February 1st.