FROM GUELPH CORRECTIONAL CENTRE, ONTARIO
I thought you may be interested in the work going on at Guelph Correctional Centre...
Irene and Karen have been coming down here once a month for a couple of years now training inmates in the Laubach method of tutoring. The big stumbling block was the rapid turnover of tutors seemed we never got off the ground.
This year it's different we have an inmate tutor coordinator who has been keeping the volunteers informed of training sessions and meetings, making sure that students and tutors are getting together on time and talking to new men who come in, looking for both students and new tutors.
Since September, Karen and Irene have trained, at least up to a point, over 30 inmates. On November 24 (1976) we are starting with another 12 men, and there will be six more from the Hillcrest Training School as well. We are currently working with 18 students and there are another dozen or so on the waiting list...
The enthusiasm here is unbelievable. Men are sending notes up to the school almost demanding that they be added to the list for training. The amazing thing is that some of the requests are from the men we would least expect to be volunteering to do anything, let alone help another inmate. Most of the tutoring is done in the evening and the men are passing up all other activities to help someone learn to read.
Our biggest problem here is still inmate turnover - chaps are still being released transferred to other institutions, going to camp or getting day-parole. I certainly don't begrudge them these opportunities, but I know how frustrated our coordinator gets, although he isn't at the stage of trying to talk someone out of a parole in order to keep them as a tutor.
Ideally we really need to be able to hold a two-day consecutive workshop. As with anyone else, the men do tend to get frustrated at having to wait two or four weeks for the second half of the training program. However, our budget restrictions do not allow us to have more than one day a month.
This started out as a short note but I usually become long-winded about things that I am proud of and I am proud of each and everyone of our tutors. People don't generally think that an inmate can do constructive things but the one thing I can say with certainty is
THESE GUYS REALLY GIVE A DARN!!!
With kind regards.
(From the Hamilton and District Literacy Council Newsletter Number 10, February 15, 1977.)