Thirteen students were recently trained to volunteer with the Greenville College Prison Initiative. Dr. Kent Dunnington, professor of religion and philosophy at the college, directs the program. He said the program exists to provide educational opportunities for both students and inmates and to embrace the prison as part of the community.
“The way that it really began was I began asking students that I knew if they would be interested in getting trained to volunteer at the prison as tutors, both in the men’s prison, which is a medium security federal facility, and the women’s, which is a minimum security federal camp,” Dunnington recalled. “So back in 2009, we started getting students to go out and do the training, and since then we’ve always had students who go out to the prison on a weekly basis, often in pairs. And the men go into GED classrooms on the inside and help the guys that are trying to get their GED. They tutor them in math and reading and things like that, and the women do the same for the women.”
Dunnington said the 13 students will begin to volunteer in the prison this spring. He said students and faculty involved in the initiative do more than just tutoring at the prison. In the past, they have coordinated book clubs, chess clubs and even offered classes.