Inmates learn braille to help state’s blind students

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Several inmates at Central State Prison are learning a new trade for when they’re released.

It’s helping thousands of the state’s visually impaired.

In a place where there’s little room for chances.

“It taught me patience, it taught me temperance, it taught me a greater work ethic,” Elmer Hamilton, an inmate at Central State Prison, said.

Inmates at the prison are getting a second one.

“Doing 22 years I didn’t really have a skill. Braille gave me a skill,” Ladji Ruffin, a former inmate who’s still with the Department of Corrections, said.

Ruffin was inside the prison as a convict a few years ago. He’s now knows braille and is certified in braille mathematics.

“It’s an excellent program and it will set you up for life,” Ruffin said.

Program director Angie Scott says Ruffin is the latest ‘success story’ of turning his life around after spending more than 20 years in prison.

“We have found that if they can be gainfully employed on the outside, it keeps them, most of them, from coming back to prison,” Scott said.

Several of these men spend hours, four days a week learning, transcribing, and applying braille to help create textbooks for children who are blind.

Inmates says it took at least six months before they became initially certified.

“It makes me understand the difficulties and the challenges of the visually impaired children face,” Hamilton said.

From typing, to foreign languages, and digital platforms, the inmates are creating a full body of material to make students lives a little easier.

“It’s a very rewarding experience because I get to see them as they’re learning a new trade,” Scott said.

A new trade, that’s bringing new hope.

“To inspire hope to the guys. You can have a life outside,” Ruffin said.

Last year, the braille program produced more than 700 textbooks. According to the state department of corrections, the program has a 0% recidivism rate.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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