Named as one of the Washington Region's "best small charities" by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, VSC provides practical assistance to inmates at the DC Jail.
Why do we exist?
“Who is my lawyer?” “Ask my neighbor to feed my dog. I should be out by the weekend.” “My dad is an amputee. Call my neighbor and ask her to make sure he has enough food.” “See if my employer will give my paycheck to my wife so she can pay the rent.” “I need job training.” Can you help me?” These, and thousands of requests like them from inmates in the DC Jail, are typical of the more than 6000 requests we handle on an annual basis. We are one of few programs with access to the DC Jail – and the only one with daily access.
What have you accomplished?
An inmate wrote: “VSC is the light at the end of a long dark tunnel….Shine on! These words in many ways reflect our services. We are present at the beginning of the “long dark tunnel” on day 1 of incarceration when we help inmates make contact with their families, their landlords, their attorneys, their employers – or just someone on the outside who can help. We provide assistance throughout incarceration as inmates call on us for information on drug treatment, housing, job training and continuing contact with families and attorneys. Upon release, men and women come to our office for continuing services: police clearances, duplicate birth certificates and Social Security Cards, tokens, income tax preparation, use of our telephones, computers and fax machine, resume help etc. Shine on!
In the early days, VSC handled approximately 1,000 inmate requests for assistance. Today – 40 years later – VSC handles more than 7,000 inmate requests each year.