A brand new non-profit is trying to change the American prison system by helping to ensure that children of prisoners and paroles follow a different path; one that leads to a good education.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison in the United States. And often that cycle of imprisonment is not broken from generation to generation. the creative corrections education foundation has a plan to change that.
It doesn't take much change to make a change. That is the belief of a new non-profit that will give scholarships to help the children of prisoners or those on parole get an education. Percy Pitzer has more than 30 years experience working within the correctional system both as a warden and as a consultant. He and his wife decided it was time to give back, donating $100,000 to start a nonprofit. Pitzer tells 12 News HD, "This was approved last year and I think we got notification in August."
The Creative Corrections Education Foundation will give scholarships from $1,000 to $5,000. Pitzer says to apply is simple, "First of all they have to have a parent incarcerated or on parole. They have to be accepted by a vocational training school or a university. They have to apply for a Pell Grant. They have to have a recommendation from their school."
To ensure no student is turned away, the foundation is working with prisons around the country asking every inmate to donate just 50 cents a month. That's roughly one candy bar for them and it adds up to six dollars a year.
Pitzer says they are also asking the community to help, "You know just in Beaumont itself, the prison industry is a $120 million annually and there's a lot of vendors that service the prison. So we're hoping that they will help us. We're hoping that companies will help us."
And also hoping to stop second generation crime by helping young people realize just because their parent is in prison the situation does not have to lock up their dreams.
Pitzer says, "A lot of these kids do not know what they are capable of doing and they cannot imagine themselves in a successful position." That realization will set the children of prisoners free to potentially lead a better life. The foundation hopes to give 40 scholarships this year. For more information on how you can donate or get a scholarship, click on the "Links We Like" tab and you will find a link to their web site.