Improving the literacy of children of inmates and connecting them to their parents.
Arthur White was a founder of the public opinion research firm Yankelovich, Skelly & White in 1964, Reading is Fundamental in 1966, and Jobs for the Future in 1983. In 2002, spurred by his experience as a member of the Federal Prison Industries Board, White founded Connecting through Literacy Inmates, Children, and Caregivers, a nonprofit that focuses on improving the literacy skills of inmates and their children. With inmates often up to 100 miles from home and infrequently visited by their children, the program uses literacy training, reading and email-based discussions about books as vehicles to improve communications. Its broader goal is to heal strained interpersonal relationships while improving the literacy and job-related computer skills of prison inmates, their children and their caregivers. CLICC’s premise is that the children of inmates can have their learning and growth supported by successful role models (e-mentors) from business and faith-based organizations, who can provide stability and a positive learning experience. It is further committed to providing caregivers with adequate support and the incentives necessary to nurture the social and educational well being of the children under their care. The relationships nurtured through the program will lead to improved literacy skills for inmates and their children, enhance parenting skills, and help to provide additional reentry support. Following completion of a pilot program at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut, the program will be tested in two Connecticut state prisons and then expanded to other federal and state institutions.