Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Unsung prison heroes

I enjoyed reading about a prison in Wellington, New Zealand that has a program aimed at teaching inmates to cook so that they are better prepared to re-enter society once they are released from prison (“Thyme and Punishment,” Aug. 20, page 12).

As a former English teacher in a federal prison in the US, I can attest to the good work that is being done in prison education departments to help inmates gain skills they may need in the outside world.

In the US, I taught inmates to read who could not even pass a sixth-grade-level reading assessment examination.

Hopefully, what my students learned in my class made them more employable once they are released. In particular, vocational education instructors who teach all kinds of skills to inmates — including auto repair, landscaping, farm work, baking and, yes, cooking — are the unsung heroes of our prisons. “Time served” can be time well-spent.

Dave Hall

Taipei

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