ONLY ON WDRB: Prison braille program benefiting inmates and children
"I have a 35-year sentence for murder and I have been here for 19 years," she said.
Because they're learning such specialized skills, these inmates must be serving longer sentences to get into the prison braille program that started 14 years ago. It's a job at the prison that adds up.
Joe Woods is a KCIW Operations Manager.
"When they begin a job here at the facility, they start at 25 cents an hour," Woods said. "Upon a 30-day review, they're eligible to get 35 cents an hour for a raise."
The most they can make is 45 cents an hour.
Gary Mudd is the APH Vice President of Public Affairs says, "The Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women has helped us get more books to more kids more quickly."
It can be a tedious job making maps, gluing on different textures piece-by-piece. A book about a shark uses different materials so students can understand what a shark looks like.
"We just wanted to give them the anatomy of the shark and get them engaged and interested in wildlife and animals, just the same as their peers," Williams said.
A 5th grade math book, for example, with 575 pages takes eight months to transcribe. Not only is it time consuming, but braille is expensive.
"This one would probably be anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on how many pages," Williams said. "It usually runs a $1.50 to anywhere up to $8 a page for braille, depending on the code."
Williams says at first, this was just a job to pass the time behind bars. But now, she's learned some valuable skills. She can read and type braille.
"It makes me feel like I'm giving back even more to the kids because I was there at that time," she said. "If I had been interested in reading or in doing school, maybe I hadn't gotten in trouble."
"I think that's really cool that they're not just cleaning and stuff that they're actually doing something that's productive and giving back to the community," Loyd said.
Inmates appreciate the opportunity they've been given, while students appreciate the hard work it takes to turn written books into braille.
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