Production since 2016 has tripled. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the pace here is quickly increasing.
“Right now, we’re seeing over 300 books that are being worked on this year and we have about 150 different imputes, said Jared Leslie, Director of Media Services for the Foundation for Blind Children. “So we have seen a growth with our program to be able to match the need of the state to make sure that no student starts their school year without their textbooks,” said Leslie.
“Braille is a sequence of six different dots. So you have dots 1, 2 and 3 and then 4, 5 and 6 and so depending on that dot combination, that’s going to convey either a letter, or in the case of contractions, it would be a contracted word,” explained Leslie.
Leslie runs the department and also oversees a very successful partnership with the Arizona Department of Corrections.
“Previously, we were around 100 transcriptions that we were creating throughout the year and now we’re over 300 transcriptions throughout the year.. seeing what we’ve seen with that is in our partnership with the Arizona DOC rehabilitation and reentry program is that they’ve tripled their support with us as well,” he said.
Leslie says the partnership is the largest in the nation.
Carefully chosen inmates spend six months to a year learning braille and how to transcribe it.
“There’s training in prison, but nothing like this,” said “Tom”, an inmate.
Tom wanted to remain anonymous. He did time in Eyman [Florence], Yuma, and Kingman where he studied braille. He spoke to us over the phone from his home office where he works on a computer the foundation provided.