Prisoners Change Their Lives, Becoming Expert Braille Transcribers for Blind Students

Prisoners Change Their Lives, Becoming Expert Braille Transcribers for Blind Students

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Just because these inmates are behind bars doesn’t mean that they can’t make a positive difference in the world, or do something so meaningful that it will change their own lives forever.

Roughly 23 prisoners at the Scotland Correctional Institution in Laurinburg, North Carolina have been trained and are now dedicating their remaining prison time to transcribing books into braille for blind students and adults.

The braille books are actually requested by teachers and crisis centers in Wyoming, Connecticut, Colorado, and North Carolina. They require a team of six translators to complete because many of the books are educational texts on science, math, and music.

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According to WFMY, it can take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to learn regular braille – and it can take years to become adept at transcribing music. The correctional institution’s Braille Transcribing Plant says that because braille translators are always in high demand, prisoners have just a 0-3% recidivism rate after being released—and the success rate holds true across the dozens of institutions with such programs in the US.

“They enjoy what they’re doing. To know that they’re responsible for that child having a book in the classroom,” said plant manager Cynthia Stubbs in an interview with WFMY News. “They’re just dedicated, they really are.”

The translating plant is just one of many initiatives of Correctional Enterprise, an organization dedicated to providing life skills that become rehabilitative opportunities for inmates. In 2016 alone, the Braille Transcribing Plant translated over 1,000 books for blind citizens.

The inmates know the value of what they are doing, too. “It is kind of ironic that I do find myself now in a position where I can give back. I can really benefit myself and others.”

(WATCH a video below about a similar program in Georgia – and see another at WFMY)

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