Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

National Prison Braille Network

July 14, 2022 American Printing House Episode 56
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
National Prison Braille Network
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Change Makers, learn about the National Prison Braille Network.

Participants (In Order of Appearance)

  • Jeff Fox, Narrator
  • Sara Brown, APH Public Relations Manager
  • Jayma Hawkins, APH National Prison braille Network, Senior Director
  • Paul Schroeder, APH Vice President of Impact and Outreach
  • Nancy Motherseale,  EOT, Braille Coordinator for Aging and Disability Services, Bureau of Education Services for the Blind in Connecticut 
  • Anne Saint,  Sales and Marketing Manager for Connecticut's Correctional Enterprises 

Additional Links

Jack Fox:

Welcome to change makers , a podcast from APH . We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Hello, and welcome to Change Makers. I'm APH's Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown . And today we're learning about the National Prison Braille Network. We're gonna learn about its history and the materials it produces. We'll also talk about partnerships and we'll talk about just how far a person can go in the National Prison Braille Network. Up first, we have APH's National Prison braille Network, Senior Director Jayma Hawkins, and APH's Vice President of Impact and Outreach. Paul Schroeder. Hello, Jayma and Paul, and welcome to Change Makers.

Jayma Hawkins:

Thank you.

Paul Schroeder:

Thank you.

Sara Brown:

So tell us about the National Prison Braille Network and its history?

Jayma Hawkins:

Um , prison Braille has been going on in the United States since 1960 for many years. There were no, there was no communication between the states. And as technology has grown , um, in 2000 American Printing House spearheaded , uh , a meeting group, a focus group of folks from different prison Braille programs throughout the country. That focus group started with about six to eight people and has grown over the years. The last one we had in person was in 2019 and we had 75 people and 23 states in the room

Sara Brown:

Talk about the materials that are created through the program and how those materials impact students who are blind or low vision?

Jayma Hawkins:

The materials that are created in Prison Braille Programs throughout the country vary due to their state needs and how the program is made up. Meaning what umbrella it lives under, under the structure of corrections. However, it can be large-print that they are braille textbooks, worksheets, tactile graphics, and digital files. And that has a huge impact on the education of blind and visually impaired children. Um, historically high school was the end of the road and in the last 20 years or so, we're seeing more and more students graduate college, go on to live independent, productive lives. And so it has a huge impact for APH alone. The last statistics we had were also 2019 statistics and Prison Braille Programs throughout the country transcribed 56.2% of all textbooks that APH produced.

Paul Schroeder:

And Sara, if I could jump in, this is Paul. I think two things. One is it's , it's , it's obvious, I think from Jaya's answer, but it's important for us to , to make clear just for anybody who isn't familiar with the program that we are of talk of course, talking about , uh , individuals who are incarcerated, who are producing these materials. We're not making these materials for , uh , blind people in prison who are reading braille or large print. This is individuals who are incarcerated , um , who are getting their certifications as braille transcribers with various codes and who are learning as well, how to do , uh , high quality , large print , uh , production , uh , who are making , uh , these materials available for APH or for state education agencies , uh , and , and perhaps for others as well. I think most people probably know that the prison system in our country has for many years , uh , been producing materials , um , uh , making things , um, uh , of , of , of all sorts. And , uh , as Jayma pointed out since 1960, there have been some , uh , prisons that have been producing , uh , Braille or large print material , uh , for, for students.

Sara Brown:

Now there's a new website. Can you talk about how it supports those in the network?

Jayma Hawkins:

We're really excited about the new website that you can go to www.npbn.org . It gives a general overview of all the programs that we offer. And it also allows for back and forth communication and questions from the field, this website, benefits ex-offenders. It benefits ex-offender, it benefits families of those incarcerated. It benefits, corrections officials and vision officials. Just a couple of the questions I have received are one was this week from warden in Oklahoma, that used to be the warden at another prison that had a Prison Braille Program. He's found out a lot of it . His inmates are at this program at this prison and he wants to start a new program. So he went through our website.

Paul Schroeder:

This is , uh , Paul again. And, and I think that's important, right? That , that one of the, the values that besides just knowing about the program and learning , um, what it can do is helping to find potentially , um, mm-hmm <affirmative> prison systems that might be able to produce material. So if you're a education agency or someone else is looking to have transcript transcription done , um, this is a source. There is , um, I know it's not the topic of today's conversation, but there's another , uh , side that APH offers. And that of course is the Louie , uh , website , uh, that is also a great source to find books. And a lot of the systems , uh , prison systems of course do , uh, ma uh , make books that are available , uh , in findable through Louie . And it's one of the good ways to find those materials,

Jayma Hawkins:

Right? And the Louie , uh , database does exist on our website. There is a link to that. So it's providing a lot of channels to get what you need.

Sara Brown:

Talk to us about the prison Braille forum at APH's Annual Meeting, it's coming up soon.

Jayma Hawkins:

We are really excited that the Prison Braille Forum is coming back to an in-person meeting as is APH's Annual Meeting. Um, you earlier asked me about the National Prison Braille Network, and I let you know, it's a group of folks from corrections. From visionside ex-offenders, some APH staff. So the Prison Braille Forum is a meeting place for all the parties within the network to come together to discuss mutual topics that are affecting one state or another state to seek solutions, to exchange information and have a good day of, you know, information exchange and fellowships. So it's always a really good meeting and we are super excited to be back in person this year.

Paul Schroeder:

And if I might , uh, Jayma , I know one of the highlights of the forum , uh , certainly ones that I have participated in are , uh , presentations by ex offenders , uh, who have gone then producing materials have learned the codes. And , uh , uh , in many, in most instances now are , are doing transcription work , um , in their , um , post-release and those are always moving. Um, those presentations, because I think, you know, if you haven't spent time , uh , around the stories of individuals who are incarcerated, they, they are very difficult and challenging stories oftentimes, but the opportunity to hear from somebody who has , uh, thrived you , uh , learning these programs and have found the value in producing braille and large print and knowing how important that has been to students , um , has really made a huge difference in people's lives . And when you listen to individuals talk at the National Prison Braille Forum, um , rarely is there a dry eye in the house. It is an extraordinarily moving event .

Jayma Hawkins:

Paul , I couldn't agree more. Um, we have two speakers scheduled for this year, but I'm not gonna let the cat out of the bag just yet. Okay. I'm gonna keep everyone in suspense until we open up registration.

Sara Brown:

Can you talk to us about the Braille Transcriber Apprentice Program and reentering society after an incarceration?

Jayma Hawkins:

The Braille Transcriber Apprentice Program, known as B-TAP was born out of the network. Okay. So the network is kind of our, our family here and the programs we are discussing have grown out of discussion of the network. And reentry was one of the big items over the last 10 to 15 years , uh , that I've been involved with the network and what can we do to help people who are released to keep them in our field and keep the expertise after the personal investment they've made to become experts in our field. So we created a reentry program, where, a select few are brought to APH for a two to six month apprenticeship. The mission of this program is to send them back into their home state with a computer braille software, a licensed cottage, Braille business, and their first contract for a book to do. Um, we also mentor them in a lot of other areas throughout their transition while they're in Louisville, you know, bank accounts learning to live in the world they're entering. Most of them have long sentences. So there are some that have never seen debit cards. They've never seen cell phones , they've never been on the internet. They don't understand the importance of email communication. Um, so we really walk along beside that journey with them through their transition and hopefully send them home fully equipped as a good business person and a great transcriber.

Paul Schroeder:

And I think , and I think just echoing that point Jayma has, as of course. Many of these individuals, I suspect , um, uh , become incarcerated at fairly young ages often. Yes . And , um , have spent , uh , as you said, maybe didn't even really get established as a , as a young adult or an adult very well. Um , I will tell you personally, I have, first of all, I have the pleasure of working with, with Jayma she's part of my group. Um, and she is there , there is no one who I think could, could run this program , uh , the way and as effectively as she does. And a lot of that is really the personal time that Jayma puts in , uh , to work with these individuals and to provide that , uh , that scaffolding, that assistance , uh , that net , if you will , uh , that allows these individuals to begin to , um, learn how to function in society, learn all those. Um , some, some might say soft skills and, and some of even hard skills of financial , uh , management, shopping, and , uh , handling , uh , daily living. And, you know, it's a , it's an unappreciated part of this program. I think that, that we have someone like Jayma who puts in so much of her personal, emotional, and mental time , uh , to make it happen. So, you know , uh , I'll , I'll say hats off here on the podcast to you Jayma for that work, because I don't think , um , these individuals, I , I think, you know , they might achieve success, but I don't know if they would achieve success as quickly and as efficiently and effectively , um, as, as they do. Cause these are, these are also tough. These are tough individuals , um, who are, who are dedicated to getting their life together. Uh , they've spent time in prison. They've learned some important skills. Um, and you know, and I think there's been a lot of success in the apprentice program. And a lot of it is because of Jayma and a lot of it is because of the individual's own forward too .

Jayma Hawkins:

Thank you , Paul. That's very kind of you to say, and yes, I, I, I learn as much as they do every single time and they have spent decades incarcerated. We see how things are changing so quickly out here from one year to the next can , you know, if you've been gone for 20 years, then it's quite the culture shock. So they've all done very well. And as far as technology goes, by the time we're finished, they're a lot better at it than I am. I show them a few things. I show 'em how to turn it on and they show me the rest <laugh>

Paul Schroeder:

I had a chance to , uh , visit a program and I would recommend to our listeners, if you look on the website and you find a , a prison braille program nearby , um, you should take a visit , uh , if, if there's an opportunity to do so. What, what was impressive to me? And I didn't know what to expect going in. I'll be honest with you. I'd never been in a prison. And I, I, you know, I didn't know what to expect. Um, I was a little , um, uneasy, just cuz I didn't know what to expect. And within five minutes of, of sitting this , this happened to be , uh , a women's prison. Um, within five minutes of sitting with the , the individuals doing Braille or large print work, we, we were talking about issues that they were having, you know , uh , translation challenges in one case, I think they were doing a French textbook and , and they were joking about the fact that none of them knew French. Um , so some of them said they barely knew English. And, and so, but so we were, we were kind of laughing. We were talking about the, the , the issues around braille codes and, and some of the challenges with large print production. Um, you , you , it was very easy to forget that you were also sitting with incarcerated individuals because we were having a very in depth conversation about production of material and the expectations of students and how to make sure that they produced the top quality they could. And it was really a , a , a wonderful experience , um , to find these dedicated transcribers and producers . Um , probably just as dedicated as , as anyone who, who might not be incarcerated.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Jayma Hawkins:

If I had to give an overall comment, I would say that whoever you are out there, if this sounds interesting to you, please visit our website and that will give you an over a general overview of all of the programs we offer, but it also gives you a contact us link that will shoot an email straight to us. And we answer within 24 hours, you know, and that can start the conversation.

Paul Schroeder:

And , and I would only add , uh , that first of all, this is such a , a terrific program that is for an individual, in my case, who is totally blind, who relies on braille and relied on braille as a student. Um, it is meaningful for me to know that there are these individuals who are producing material , uh , that I and others need in a , in a timely and accessible format. The other thing I would say is, we know we need transcribers and, and this is an excellent pool of well trained individuals who are dedicated to their craft and who have been tested , uh , over, over the years in , in terms of producing high quality , large print and Braille. And so as, as apprentices come through and , um, we, we , uh, uh , as , as that program is successful, we hope we will see these individuals turning into small business , uh , producers, if that's what they want or joining in with other organizations, many have joined APH , of course, as transcribers. So there are great opportunities , uh , for production and materials and great opportunities for finding individuals to do transcription and production , um , in it from this , uh , Prison Braille Program.

Sara Brown:

All right . Jayma and Paul, thank you so much for coming on today.

Jayma Hawkins:

Thank you.

Paul Schroeder:

Absolutely.

Sara Brown:

And I've put links in the show notes to the National Prison Braille Network. So you can get a little bit more information. Now we have EOT Nancy Mothersele. She's the Braille Coordinator for Aging and Disability Services, Bureau of Education Services for the Blind in Connecticut. Hello, Nancy, and welcome to Change Makers.

Nancy Mothersele:

Hi, Sara, thank you for having me.

Sara Brown:

Can you talk about why your state decided to start a program?

Nancy Mothersele:

Well , um, I took over as the Braille Coordinator back in 2006 and the previous Braille Coordinator had started actually three programs back in the late eighties, early nineties. Um, in three of the facilities men's facilities in Connecticut, there was one in Cheshire, there was one in Suffield and one in Enfield. And , um, we have a Braille producing 501(c) volunteer program in Connecticut, down in Westport , um, Connecticut Braille Association, who had been working with the Bureau of Education Services for the Blind in trying to , um, get something, going with the inmates in Connecticut and start training them to do Braille because they were running out of transcriptionists. Cuz most of the transcriptionists that worked for Connecticut Braille were in their seventies and eighties had been doing it for a long, long time. And they were either , um, getting old or passing away and there was kind of a shortage. So what better, it would be to train inmates to do this and give them skills. So when I took over in 2006, all three programs were still in existence, but um, there was a bunch of , uh , staff changes. They closed a bunch , they closed some of the prisons, some of the blocks. So it ended up the only one that was still producing Braille was Cheshire. And then in late 2006, they closed two blocks in Cheshire and they transferred. I think at one point I had 32 transcriptionists and they moved 20 of them, 22 of them to different facilities where they couldn't do Braille. So I just, I wanted to rebuild in like 2016, I went to APH , I went to the prison, Braille committee, went to the forum and asked for help cuz I wanted to rebuild Cheshire. What ended up happening was the commissioner of corrections said we can't really do that because they're in protective custody. There's no way we can get the computers in there. So he offered us York , um, it's a women's facility, so nobody would be transferred. Nobody would go anywhere else. And whoever was in the program would stay in the program cuz it's the only women's facility. But I know that the whole reason this was started in the first place was to train new transcriptionists, to be able to get, you know, braille into the student's hands. And why not do it locally in Connecticut? I mean, we do, I do have a lot of vendors that I outsource with and I send work to, but if we can train these participants in the program with these skills, give them a specialized skill, which is in great demand when they're released and they could go and use it. And then they're also giving back to the community. I mean, everybody that I talk to that's been involved in the programs , um, has a great sense of humility and accomplishment and just feel really good that they learned something and are able to give back. So that's really, I mean, you know, to give them the skills, it's kind of a , a win-win situation. We get Braille produced in Connecticut in our facility and put it into the student's hands and they're learning specialized skills and they're able to go on and progress and get more certifications and get out and use these skills when they transition back. And I know that, you know, they can either work for another vendor. They can start their own business and this can be done at home, which is really nice, you know? So it , I think it's really, really important that that, that this has come about. And I think it's a great program and it's, it's really grown over the years. So I mean, there are more states doing it. I think it's just, it's fantastic.

Sara Brown:

And what would you say to someone who's considering building this kind of partnership?

Nancy Mothersele:

You you've gotta , um, it's, it takes a while it's not gonna happen overnight. Um, we choose participants that have five years or more on their sentences that have had no violations, no behavioral violations, no "tickets" as they call them. Um, and have a GED or high school diploma. Okay. And the reason we do that is it takes a while to get certified. It will take, you know, over a year to get your literary certification going through all the lessons and doing the manuscript. And that's only one certification. So in order to really , um, advance your, your career, you need at least one other certification, whether it be in proofreading or formatting or whatever, and that just gives you a better resume and you're more employable. But the important part is that you have to realize that everything is housed under the Department of Corrections. So the Department of Corrections is in charge. You know, you have to go by their rules, you have to, you know, work with them. And you have to understand that there are gonna be times where you can't go into the program. It's going to be shut down for whatever reason they're gonna be on lockdown. I was supposed to go last Friday and I was getting ready to go down to , to go to the program to give instruction. And I got a phone call that they were shut down. They were on lockdown and that's, that's what it is. But it's just really, really important that you build a really good partnership with the Department of Corrections and you understand your role. They have their role. And I, we wouldn't be as successful with York as we are and been able to keep it going during the pandemic. If I didn't have great partners, I have a great supervisor that runs the program. There there's another woman from DOC Industries that is a salesperson, but she has like taken this program under her wing. So we all communicated during the pandemic and um, the other, the woman from industries and was driving up here. It's, it's like a 40 minute drive from York to my house. I was giving her things. She was bringing me things and she was bringing them back down to the prison. And even she couldn't go in, but the supervisor Rhoda, would meet her outside and they'd exchange, whatever it was. So we were all emailing and phone calling and Anne was treking back and forth between my house and York. And it's just, it's really important to have a good relationship, but you need to understand that it is under the Department of Corrections and you have to all get along.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this program or what you've seen overall?

Nancy Mothersele:

I have seen since, since I started working with the, with the inmates and in these programs, I mean, I, I had 12 guys at Cheshire that , um, were released and there was only one that re-offended the other 12 were out doing Braille part-time. They've been very successful. They've been , uh , gotten full-time jobs and do braille. You know, part-time, I've seen a change in the women that I've been working with since 2017, 2018, just the , the confidence level and the pride that they have in producing the braille they're producing. And I just think it's, it's just a great win-win situation for everybody. And, and I think that it's, it's very valuable.

Sara Brown:

All right , Nancy, thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers.

Nancy Mothersele:

Thank you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

Now we have Anne Saint . She is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Connecticut's Correctional Enterprises. Hello Anne, and welcome to ChangeMmakers.

Anne Saint:

Thank you. Thank you for having us with you today.

Sara Brown:

Can you talk about what correctional facility in which you work and how many are currently participating in the Prison Braille Program?

Anne Saint:

Uh , yes. Our Braille program is at York state prison in Niantic, Connecticut. It is a women's facility. There are eight women that are certified in Braille Literacy from the National Library of Congress.

Sara Brown:

Talk about the process for an inmate to become certified, to participate in the National Prison Braille Network.

Anne Saint:

Yes, the women that come to work in the Braille unit must first have a GED or a high school diploma, and no infractions are been in trouble at the prison. There are 20 lessons that they start with to learn and they have to pass before they take a reading test. Once they take the reading test and it's completed, they start their manuscript, which consists of 35 braille pages.

Sara Brown:

And just how far can a person go? What certifications can be obtained and how long is that process?

Anne Saint:

Okay. A person can go as far as they want. Once they've earned their literary certification, they can take a proofread exam. They can take a formatting exam. This is as far as we've come so far, cuz we started our Braille Program in June of 2018. So nobody's taken any nemic or any graphic classes yet. Um , but to get these classes, usually the manuscript usually takes with the lessons and the manuscript about a year, some take a year and a half. Um, the proofread they give you , um, informing, they give you three months to do your exams and then they, they grade 'em after that. And sometimes that takes a couple of months to get the results back.

Sara Brown:

Now you're in Connecticut. Can you talk about the Braille Program at your facility? You said earlier it started in 2018.

Anne Saint:

Yes. It started in 2018. Uh , our Braille Program has given the women a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Um, we're bringing books for the students of Connecticut now. So we're, we have an inter agency agreement with , uh , agent and disability who handles the blind , uh , portion of the state of Connecticut. So we're very proud of the work we're doing with them.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Anne Saint:

Oh yeah. We're just proud to be part of this program. Uh , we feel a sense of pride and appreciation knowing we're helping individuals who are blind and it's, it's been wonderful to watch the, the women grow as they learn from these experiences of learning braille. So it's been challenging, but wonderful. And you just, you see that they're into their work and they feel good about their self knowing that they're gonna have a job when they get out.

Sara Brown:

Okay. Anne , thank you so much for joining me today on Change Makers.

Anne Saint:

Okay. Thank you very much for having me.

Sara Brown:

Now we're gonna shift gears a bit and we're gonna have Paul back to talk to us about what's been going on in DC . It's been a wild ride.

Paul Schroeder:

Hey Sara, it's busy. Uh, the House of Representatives and as y'all know, there's two bodies in Congress, the House and the Senate. The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. Those are the , the folks that make the decisions about money , um, have just moved forward. Most of the Appropriations bills, actually I think all of them now are, are through the Committee. And I'm pleased to say that in the bill that funds the American Printing house for the Blind , um , there is a $3 million increase to the APH funding level, which is at $40,400 , 310 I think. Um, and it , it would increase to $43,431 ,000 . The, that of course is just the first step. That's the Committee in the House of Representatives that has , uh , recommended , uh , if you will, that funding level, the house has to pass it. And then the Senate has to pass its version and then the two have to agree. All of that's supposed to happen before October 1st, Sara, it won't happen before October 1st, just a little little , uh , in case anybody's on the edge of their chair, not gonna happen. Um , hope. We're hoping that it happens before the end of the year, cuz if it doesn't get agreed to before the end of the year, this Congress is done and we have to start over again. <laugh> uh , with a brand new Congress starting in '23 , um, many people will remember that the bill, the , the final funding didn't get finished this year until March middle of March of, of uh , '22. So it was almost six months, actually it was six months after it was due to be done. So we're hoping it's not gonna be that bad this year. Don't know for sure the good news is , um, we're on a good path with , um , with a nice increase from the house and we very much appreciate the hubs committee. We very much appreciate that. And if I could just babble on one more second on that , um, there's something called Report Language that a committee passes and it's, it's, it's , it's a committee's explanation of, "Hey, we gave you this money and here's what we want you to do with it." Um, and it's, it's, it has, it has, it has value. It is an indication of what Congress expects you to spend your money on. Um, and in that Report Language, they talk about something that I know we've talked a little bit about here, the Dynamic Tactile Device. The multiline braille device that we're working on. And , uh , the House Committee in its report said, "we very much want APH to , um, use some of this funding to test and further develop that display." So that was exciting for us because it means that we can , um, put the prototypes out into students and teachers hands during the next year and get some feedback on this really breakthrough important device. Uh , and we're so excited that the , the House Committee, at least so far saw the value of it too, and , uh , wants us to use some of that extra funding for that purpose.

Sara Brown:

All right . A lot, a lot of stuff going on...

Paul Schroeder:

Yeah, and that's the , that's the Congress side. There is one thing over in Education I'll mention too, just in case people wanna follow it. Um, the Department of Education is taking a look at something called Section 504. Now , uh , people who follow the ins and outs of, of Legal Rights and Civil Rights might know, might remember section 504, which was passed in 1973 , uh , provides for a prohibition on discrimination for , by anyone who receives federal funding. So federal funds, federal funds go almost everywhere in , in this country, right? To schools, to colleges, to communities, to transportation. So Section 5 04 says, if you get those federal funds, you can't , um , discriminate against people with disabilities and there's, there's certain things you have to do, but what's been a little bit unclear is how 504 , uh , works for Special Education. Um, many of your listeners of course know about the individuals with disabilities education act that establishes the individualized education plan. The IEP that that governs Special Ed services, but some students, including some of our students with, with , uh , blindness or low vision are funded are , are served under section 504 under this non-discrimination , um , fund , uh , uh , requirement. And the set of services that are required for them is not clear , uh , because 504 doesn't really spell out that very, very effectively. So the department's taking a look at how section 504 is being used in schools. And they're starting to , um, gather input on that now. Uh , in fact, I think as we speak and , uh, over the summer, and then they're gonna , they're gonna be doing more input gathering. It's not clear, they haven't said for sure what they're gonna do about it, whether they're gonna put new regulations out or some other changes. But I think this is exciting. Um , because I think some of us have worried for a while that students served under a 504 , uh , designation, maybe don't get as robust, a set of services as students under an IEP do. And it's not clear what the services are. I'm gonna give you one small, but important example. And it's, it's something important to the American Printing House for the Blind and that's , um, National Instructional Material, Accessibility Standard, Nimbus. Which is a, a type of digital file , uh, that publishers are required. Uh , schools are required to get from publishers when they purchase textbooks. They're supposed to get these , uh , uh , a digital file in this Nimbus, the National, Instructional, Material, Accessibility Standard... not easy to say. Um, technically anything produced from those files is only supposed to be used for a student served under idea because the, the law that required this, this textbook , uh , structure is in idea, it's an amendment to the Individuals of Disabilities Education Act passed in 2004. So a student under Section 504 is not necessarily supposed to have access to , uh , a Nimbus , uh , uh , a book produced from a Nimbus file. That's really important to students with print disabilities, especially those of our students who are blind to low vision because the braille or large print or even digital file , uh , Nimbus is a major way to get those books produced in, in a format that the student can use is, is one of those Nimbus digital files. And if they're served under 504, they're not really supposed to have access to that. So , um, this is something we would very much like to see cleaned up. We think it's a , uh , an unnecessary barrier. We know that nobody intended that to be the way it is. It's simply the way that laws were written. And sometimes it's hard to clean those things up. So , um , I don't know if the department can do that, but I know people are asking for them to take a look at that when they look at section 504, to see if they can , um, uh , fix this problem, whew , so much going on so much going on very nerdy stuff, but, but really important. Uh , and , and , and again, really exciting about the appropriation , um , the Senate, we don't know when they're gonna decide. Uh, so if you have good, good friends over there in the United States Senate, please encourage them to work on <laugh> , uh , getting the appropriations done, especially for , uh , education , uh , which is where of course APH is , uh , our appropriation is found.

Sara Brown:

All right , Paul, thank you so much. And as always come on back and keep us updated on that.

Paul Schroeder:

Thanks for the opportunity, Sara. It's always good to talk with you.

Sara Brown:

All right . That is all for this episode of Change Makers. I put a link to the National Prison Braille Network in the Show Notes. And again, thanks so much for listening as always be sure to look for ways you can be a change maker this week.