Massachusetts Department of Correction donates Computers for Schools Samuel Mason Pilot School receives 30 computers
Milford (May 3, 2012)—The Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) continues its distribution of newly refurbished computers through its Computers for Schools Program by delivering 30 PCs and laptops to the Samuel Mason Pilot School in Roxbury on May 3, 2012. The DOC Computers for Schools Program trains inmates to refurbish computers that have been donated to the Department for distribution to public school systems throughout the Commonwealth.
“This is a great opportunity for the schools, the students and the Department of Correction,” said DOC Commissioner Luis S. Spencer. “92% of offenders will be released from the confines of prison, so our job is to provide opportunities for offenders that change their behavior, and make communities safer. In addition, inmates who work on these computers gain marketable skills that they can use when they return to the community. They are given the opportunity to do something positive for themselves and the community.”
Samuel Mason Pilot School Principal Harolyn Bowden, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Sandra McCroom, DOC Director of Inmate Training & Education Veronica Madden, and DOC Computers for Schools Coordinator Brian Flynn as well as several of the schools K-5 students attended the presentation.
“The redemptive qualities of the Computers for Schools program are far reaching. For the inmates, it is not just refurbishing pieces of equipment, but restoring in some way pieces of their lives as they give back to the community,” said Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Sandra M. McCroom.
"An event like this really highlights the mission of the Department to promote public safety and prepare inmates for successful re-entry into our communities. A natural outcome of our re-entry strategies is entities like the Mason School reaping the benefits of inmates learning new work skills. It's a great way for these inmates to give back to their communities and do something really positive," said Deputy Commissioner Katherine Chmiel.
“In addition to learning marketable skills for their return home, the inmates that work on these computers are especially happy to support the school children who benefit from the donated computers; as many inmates did not complete their education before coming to prison and now recognize the value of education,” said DOC Director of Inmate Training & Education Veronica Madden.
Samuel Mason Pilot School Principal Harolyn Bowden appreciates the work of inmates to increase opportunities for students through expansion of computer labs. “These computers will be used to support classroom learning in many ways, and help increase access to technology for students at our school,” said Harolyn Bowden. “We are very grateful to the Department of Correction for its donation.”
With this donation, the DOC Computers for Schools Program has given approximately 3,965 computers to classrooms throughout the Commonwealth since 1997 when this program began. At an estimated cost of $200-$250 for a refurbished computer, this program has saved school districts between $793,000 to $991,250. The restorations involve the conversion of computers with Pentium 4 processors. DOC provides the CPU, monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The DOC receives computers donated by large corporations and businesses, and received its largest donation when the Massachusetts Trial Court donated 1,200 computers after it upgraded its system. DOC continues to seek donations for this partnership program. Inquiries can be directed to Brian Flynn at 978-425-4341x2231. Schools are selected through an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Currently schools are chosen for donation based on comparing the number of computers per student. Under the program, computers must be used directly by students, and not for administrative offices or other functions.
The DOC Computers for Schools Program is modeled after the Detwiler Foundation’s original program in California, which is now operating in Chicago, Illinois, by a nonprofit organization. In May 1998, the first of the computers were refurbished by inmates, with more than two dozen inmates participating in the program. Since the program began, about 461 inmates have participated in the program.
The DOC Computers for Schools Program received the Department’s Beyond Excellence Vision Award in 1998 and national recognition in 1999 with “The Best in the Business Award” from Corrections Today Magazine.