First class at NH women’s prison receive Braille Transcription Program certificates

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Residents receiving their course completion certificates, from left, Dianna Saunders, Nicole Belonga, Jessica Rivera Padilla and Susan McLaughlin. Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH – After more than one year of training, the first seven students in the New Hampshire Correctional Industries Braille Transcription program have received their certificates of completion from Future In Sight, the authorized training provider for this program.  With the training completed, they’re now eligible to obtain their certification from the Library of Congress who is the certifying body.

The Braille Transcription program began in February 2017 at the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women where the students learned to transcribe textbooks into braille as part of a Correctional Industries jobs skills development program. The training consists of a twenty sections and culminates with a final exercise of proper transcription of thirty-five pages of braille.

Dianna Saunders, left, transcribing a book into braille. Courtesy Photo

Braille Transcription certification provides opportunities to transcribe a wide variety of documents including menus, legal and medical materials, financial documents, workplace materials and many more materials to assist individuals who are blind with the same levels of life as sighted people.  These skills are unique and in demand.  In a review of Study.com, they indicated Braille transcribers, in general, fall into two categories: those who become employed by braille production companies and those who work independent through contracts.  Salaries in these occupations range, primarily dependent on the production of the braille transcriber, due to the per page rates of transcription which can be as low as $.25 per page to as high as $5.00 per page according to a survey conducted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).  In the same survey, the AFB indicated there was a significant need for braille transcribers.

Commissioner Helen Hanks said, “As part of rehabilitation, we are focusing as a department on expanding the job readiness and skills for men and women in order to create paths to living wage occupations upon release from our facilities.  This program is one of many that provides a unique and excited career options for women under the custody of the Department.  We are proud of the motivated women who are achieving their certificates and their achievement.”