The Rhode Island Department of Corrections is pleased to announce a new brochure designed to provide helpful information to family and friends of inmates at the Intake Service Center, the state’s jail facility with a capacity of 1,146.
The new brochure came about when Assistant Director for Rehabilitative Services Roberta Richman was contacted by Bryant University Sociology Professor Sandra Enos, who had two students in her “Social Problems, Social Solutions” course interested in doing a project at the ACI. Prof Enos and those students, Micaela Maynard of North Yarmouth, Maine, and Eric Goncalo of North Dartmouth, Mass., both seniors, met with members of the RIDOC staff and spent the spring semester gathering information and putting together a piece that would be helpful to the thousands of people who have a loved one incarcerated in Rhode Island.
Prof. Enos saw many benefits to the collaborative project. “What better way to teach a unit on criminal justice than to have students explore the challenges facing the department and the inmates it houses?” she asks. “In this case, I see the department as our partner in teaching students the most important lessons we have to share.”
The students were also positively impacted by the experience. Notes Maynard, “The project helped me to understand that prisoners are not just hardened criminals; they are members of families as well. They are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and children.”
The Bryant students’ text was reviewed and edited by the facility warden and deputies and the Director’s Office and laid out in brochure format by RICOC’s Chief of Information and Public Relations Tracey Poole. It was also translated into Spanish by Probation and Parole Officer Fernando Comas and was printed by Correctional Industries. It is now ready to be shared with family and friends visiting loved ones at the Intake Center, which processes over 18,000 commitments per year.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to offer this resource to the family and friends of males incarcerated in Rhode Island,” notes Assistant Director Richman. “Having a loved one incarcerated, even briefly, can be very stressful for loved ones who are unfamiliar with the system. While much of the information is available on our department’s website, we realize that many of our inmates’ family and friends don’t have access to a computer and would prefer to have something that provides quick answers to their most burning questions and is easy to read and user-friendly. We are pleased that Prof. Enos and her students were able to help us fill this need.”
The brochure is divided into the following sections: visiting information, medical treatment, inmate accounts, mail procedures, and telephone usage. It is available in both Spanish and English in the waiting area at the Intake Service Center and is posted in .pdf form on the Department’s website at www.doc.ri.gov under Media and Community Relations as well as under Institutions and Operations/Facilities/Intake Service Center.