California Model, Community Involvement, Rehabilitation

VSP braille program transcribes school books

VSP braille program participants with the warden and chief deputy warden with transcribed books.
Warden McVay and CDW with the braille program.

Incarcerated help visually impaired through braille program

For eight years, the Valley State Prison (VSP) braille program has empowered incarcerated people to help the visually impaired.

Established in 2015, this collaborative program with the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) teaches the incarcerated how to read, write, and transcribe braille.

Upon completing the course, participants become certified braille transcribers, able to transcribe books, games, learning materials, and more for local schools and organizations serving the visually impaired.

The prison’s program, facilitated by an incarcerated certified braille transcriber, uses a distance learning approach. This local instructor guides, evaluates, and grades lessons for the group participants, maintaining communication and records with the NFB. The program teaches a valuable skill while also enhancing employability post-release.

The impact of the program extends to the broader community. By transcribing books, greeting cards, games, and materials, the program serves visually, physically, and perceptually disabled individuals.

This initiative directly addresses the disparity in literacy resources between sighted and blind children, offering a chance for greater inclusivity in education.

Submitted by Lt. H. Gastelum

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