Clements Unit launches pilot reading program

Updated: Aug. 30, 2017 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The William P. Clements Prison is introducing a new program to help improve the quality of life for its inmates.

"It is our job to help them to progress and to change their way of thinking that got them into prison in the first place," Pastor Larry Miles said.

Miles says about a year ago he was walking down the Faith Based Dorm inside the Clements unit when he saw one man reading another man's letter to him.

He has also seen men read books to other men who can not read.

After seeing this, he decided to start the "Reading is Freedom" program.

"My prayer is that if we can teach a man and woman to read and then to comprehend what they are reading, it is going to open up huge areas in their life," Miles said. "We believe when they are released back into society they are going to be primed into success and will not come back to prison."

This new program focuses on men who have reading skills of a 6th or 7th grader.

Currently, there are about 12 men enrolled in the class, which is offered throughout the week.

"There is a lot that cannot be done in here if you cannot read or write," field minister Shawn Crump said. "When you go to commissary you have to be able to fill out your own list.  When people get letters from home and they can't read them and have to get somebody else read them, that presents a problem because now you are bringing somebody else in and you are trusting somebody with personal information."

Crump says reading is a problem many inmates have issues with.

He believes these type of classes can have a great impact on hundreds who struggle day to day, and other inmates agree.

"A lot of guys say they do not need this because they have some sort of education but they should look at it as something they might need to be able to help somebody else," student Telesforo Galen said.

Galen says these classes have helped him improve his studies, research and gives him an opportunity to reach out and help others.

Reading is Freedom is expected to expand to all 104 Texas Department Criminal Justice unites by next year.

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