Issue Date: March 10, 2008
'Chemistry Behind Bars'
I initially missed Patrick Achord's letter (C&EN, Nov. 26, 2007, page 5) criticizing the prison program (C&EN, Oct. 22, 2007, page 17) but was gratified to read April Hill's response (C&EN, Jan. 28, page 9). Please allow me to second her remarks from a slightly different perspective.
As a retired research chemist, I have been a volunteer tutor since 2006 in the General Education Development (GED) program run under the auspices of Painesville, Ohio, Adult Basic & Literacy Education (ABLE). We prepare students for the GED exams, working mornings in the ABLE facilities and afternoons in the Lake County Jail.
Our program in the jail has the support of the county sheriff's department. Far from being concerned about releasing better educated criminals into the community, as Achord seems to fear, we are attempting to equip those released with skills they can use to work within the community rather than returning to jail or "graduating" to prison. In fact, some sentences even include obtaining the GED as a requirement to be considered for probation.
Surely, helping those in jail contribute productively to society after their release, rather than being a drain on the community, is a worthwhile endeavor.
Stephen H. Stoldt
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