Community Involvement, Rehabilitation

Avenal State Prison renews partnership with eyeglass recycling center

For over a decade, the Lions In-Sight project has worked with Avenal State Prison (ASP) to help those in need through eyeglass recycling.

The mission of the Central Valley Eyeglass Recycling Center is to provide critical support to the Lions In-Sight of California and Nevada.  Ben Cruz coordinates the program, located on Facility F at ASP. 

Lions In-Sight receive used and donated glasses from across the state, taking each pair through a refurbishing process. The eyeglasses are sorted, packed and shipped to an impoverished or third-world country. 

Incarcerated program participants are trained in an eight-hour course consisting of Progressive and
Bi-focal Eyeglasses, as well as Neutralizing and Recycling. 

When they complete the course, they earn certifications that can later be used to gain employment in the optical industry.

They can also further their education through a correspondence course program with the American Board of Opticianry and become a Certified Optical Technician, allowing them to work anywhere in the United States.

The pandemic paused the program in 2020 but it has restarted. As of March 2021, saw the program rebound with a refurbishment total of 9,050. Since 2012, the Avenal program has refurbished 716,414 eyeglasses.

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Submitted by Lt. James Campbell.