Prisoner Visitation and Support was founded in the early 1970s, during the Vietnam war era, as an effort to support conscientious objectors who were sent to prison for refusing to join the U.S. military. In later years, its mission changed to visiting any prisoner desiring visits from outside supporters. Today, PVS is a nationwide, interfaith visitation program for federal and military prisoners, and the only group authorized by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Defense to visit all prisoners in those systems.
Eric Corson spent four decades as executive director of Prisoner Visitation and Support from 1977 to 2017. In this new book, “Reaching Beyond Prison Walls,” edited by Corson, interviews with and writings from more than 100 PVS volunteers highlight stories of their work with prisoners across the U.S. prison system. “Reaching Beyond Prison Walls” looks at this unique form of accompaniment and connection, uplifting the extraordinary work of ordinary people in the face of the dehumanizing carceral state.