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May 15, 2003

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 989-6650


Three Boston College freshmen will complete their first year of undergraduate studies by teaching and tutoring inmates housed at the Suffolk County House of Correction.

The students, all Presidential Scholars, will begin work at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department May 20 for a six-week period as part of their community service requirement for the scholarship.

“The Department’s educational programs are essential to the rehabilitation of offenders in our care,” said Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral. “With budget cuts forcing the Department to do more with less, we are fortunate that the outstanding students from Boston College are able to supplement our own programs while completing their own course requirements.”

Sheriff’s Department staff will help the students create work plans for their six-week program. As part of the program, the BC students will interact directly with male and female offenders in most educational programs such as teaching and tutoring in math and writing courses. The students will also assist with book circulation in the institution library.

“There is a mutual benefit as a result of this placement work. Staff and offenders are grateful for assistance with daily educational tasks, and the BC students get an experience they will remember for a lifetime,” said James DiZio, supervisor of education for the Sheriff’s Department.

The Department’s educational staff works with inmates whose average reading ability is at the 7th grade level and whose average mathematics ability is the 5th grade level. Educational programs include high school equivalency and external diploma classes, psychology, parenting, creative writing, computer literacy and history.

BC’s Presidential Scholars Program challenges students over four years through summer programs focusing on community service, international experience and professional internships.

The Department has a well-established partnership with BC’s Pulse and Presidential scholars programs. BC students spent an entire academic year working at the House of Correction as part of the Pulse program, a service oriented philosophy course consisting of conventional classroom lecture and six to eight hours of field placement service per week. Dottie Dunford, Director of Education and DiZio, also, a 1990 graduate of BC’s Graduate School of Education, coordinate the programs.

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