Lincoln Literacy Council looking to extend services to inmates - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Lincoln Literacy looking to extend services to inmates

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By: Lauren Fabrizi

Lincoln Literacy is looking to extend its services to inmates at the Lancaster County Department of Corrections.

It's something Clayton Naff of Lincoln Literacy has wanted to do for nearly a decade: teach English to those in jail who are struggling with the language, so they can be bettered equipped for the workforce after their sentence.

"I know it can be done," Naff said. "And I know that literacy is a really important part of that road to success."

Naff said the program would target two groups of inmates: those who are at a lower level of reading and those where English is a second language. He said each group will be taught once a week.

He has two volunteers right now, but needs a couple more.

Michael Eppel is one of the volunteers. He's a full–time doctor, but said the decision to be a part of the new program was an easy one.

"For those who want to learn English, to be able to teach them so hopefully they can get a better start when they come out," Eppel said.

Brenda Fischer, the jail's program director, said the new program couldn't have come at a better time. With the jail's new location and new facilities, she said it's perfect for new inmate programs.

"Having the opportunity to expand will just enable us to really provide a better opportunity for inmates to prepare to enter the community," Fischer said. "And have skills and have some tools and hopefully some educational experience that they did not have."

Organizers said they plan to start the program the second week of February. It'll run for 12 weeks, and will then be evaluated to see if it will continue this summer.

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