The Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan
Here in Washington State, there is roughly the same number of churches as there are prisoners.
In a recent interview with the Century, Michelle Alexander, the civil rights lawyer and author of The New Jim Crow, wonders about the stigma in many churches attached to people who have been recently released from prisons. “The deep irony,” she says,” is that the very folks who ought to be the most sensitive to the demonization of the ‘despised,’ the prisoners, have been complicit and silent.” But the kinds of conversations that Alexander’s book seems to demand are very difficult to have--in churches and outside them.
Vanderbilt was not the first school to offer theological education in a prison. But it did pioneer the approach of having seminarians learn in company with prisoners.