Massachusetts Department of Correction donates Computers for Schools. Johnny Appleseed Elementary School receives 35 computers
"This is a great opportunity for the schools, the students and the Department of Correction," said DOC Acting Commissioner Luis S. Spencer. "With 92% of offenders coming home on any given day, our job is to provide opportunities for offenders to change their behavior, and make communities safer. In addition, inmates who work on these computers are obtaining 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."
Johnny Appleseed Elementary School Principal Dr. Margaret C. O'Hearn-Curran, Leominster School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Bent, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Sandra McCroom, DOC Deputy Commissioner Veronica Madden, and DOC Computers for Schools Coordinator Brian Flynn as well as over 30 5 th grade student leaders attended the presentation.
"In addition to providing a much needed resource to the community, the Computers for Schools Program supports the DOC's Reentry Initiative by giving inmates skills they can use when they are released and return home," said DOC Deputy Commissioner Veronica Madden.
Johnny Appleseed Elementary School Principal Dr. Margaret C. O'Hearn-Curran appreciates the work of the inmates to increase opportunities for students through expansion of computer labs.
"This donation of computers will help increase access to technology for students at Johnny Appleseed and will be used to support classroom learning in multiple ways," said Dr. O'Hearn-Curran. "We are very grateful to the Department of Correction for its generosity."
Dr. Anthony Bent, Leominster School District Superintendent, added, "This is a win all around! Inmates gain marketable skills, the computers continue to be useful, and schools provide technology that might otherwise have been impossible. More than anything else, however, public school students will benefit from greater learning opportunities every day. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Department of Correction for this wonderful and visionary program."
With this donation, the DOC Computers for Schools Program has given approximately 3,905 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 $781,000 to $976,250. The restorations involve the conversion of a computer that is a Pentium 3 or faster as well as the installation of a CD-ROM drive and sound cards. 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. Schools are selected through an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of 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.
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.