The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, Division of Special Education Services, provides accessible textbooks and other materials for K-12 students who are blind or have low vision in public schools.
Offenders in the Braille Program at Central State Prison, the Georgia Braille Transcribers (GBT), assist by producing three components: braille, digital text, and braille writer repair. GDC also has another prison, Emanuel Women’s Facility, where offenders transcribe materials for college students.
“This collaboration not only assists students, but also provides career-ready skills for GDC offenders,” said Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “I am proud to say these Braille Programs are cost saving for local school districts and some former offenders have already used the skills learned while incarcerated, to pursue a career in braille transcription.”
During 2019, offenders were able to help more than 2,800 students by transcribing materials into Braille, which is at no cost to local school districts. Each of the offenders in these Braille Programs are consistently working to receive additional braille and On-The-Job (OJT) certifications.
In 2019, 52 books were requested for transcription, totaling more than 55,000 pages, and nearly 8,000 graphics. Graphs or images in textbooks are also converted as tactile graphics. Sheet music is also transcribed into braille for students. Throughout 2019, ten participants were awarded braille certifications and 12 GBT participants were awarded OJT certifications. Last year, the total amount made from transcriptions, embossed book sales, and braille repair offset the operating costs of the program.