The IUP student chapter of the Pennsylvania Prison Society has established the Reading for Change program at the Indiana County Jail. This program helps maintain connections between jail inmates and their children.
With student assistance, jailed parents are audio recorded while reading books to their children. The books are selected by the parents from those donated by community groups such as the ARIN Unit and the Kiwanis Club of Indiana, Pa. The recording, which often includes a personal message, and the book are then mailed to the child. The project’s goal is to help build the bonds that are lost when a parent becomes incarcerated.
Brandon Stroup, president of the group, initiated the program in 2011; the faculty supervisor is Daniel Lee.
The Reading for Change program is conducted free of charge to the inmates and their families. Program costs are shared by the Indiana County Jail, IUP’s Department of Criminology, the community organizations that donate books, and the IUP Student Chapter of the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Donations are welcome; contact Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Brandon Stroup, president of IUP’s student chapter of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, adding labels to the books on CD for the Reading for Change Program.