What We Do
LAPP sponsors courses that provide UVM students with opportunities to participate and collaborate in enrichment activities with incarcerated women and men in two correctional facilities: Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF), which is the state’s women’s facility, and Northwest State Correctional Facility (NWSCF), which is a men’s facility in Swanton, Vermont.
The collaborative enrichment activities consist of seven-week “short courses” led by UVM faculty. For example, in fall 2022, UVM dance instructor Julie Peoples-Clark is leading a yoga/dance class at CRCF centered on the concept of the “goddess.” Eight UVM students and up to eight incarcerated women are participating. The class allows time for different kinds of dance and movement as well as prompt-inspired journaling. In fall 2021, Associate Art Professor Pamela Fraser led a group of UVM students and incarcerated women in a class centered around designing and painting a mural for the dining space at CRCF. During the 2023 spring semester, members of the UVM Lawrence Debate Union, under the leadership of debate coach Justin Morgan-Parmett, will teach a debate class to a group of women inside the women’s prison, while Political Science Professor Alec Ewald will run a book discussion group with UVM students and men confined at NWSCF.
All these activities are funded by donors to the LAPP program and support the UVM land-grant mission of serving all Vermonters. The UVM students gain experience interacting with those incarcerated in our state facilities and learn about life “inside” while engaging in collaborative experiences that enrich the lives of all the participants.
Why We Do It
UVM has a strong tradition of social justice and service. Incarcerated communities benefit from having additional opportunities available due to the role of community volunteers. Engagement between college students and justice-involved populations is a mutually rewarding experience. We believe strongly that justice-involved individuals benefit from having such enriching opportunities and experiences. In addition, students’ experiences in and understanding of their communities often deepen their learning by doing service projects. What happens within our justice system is everyone’s concern and responsibility—students should and do care!