The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles provided 31 refurbished laptops to Day Reporting Centers and Day Reporting Center Lites located throughout Alabama. These laptops will be used on-site to provide participants assistance with enhancing computer skills, completing GED assignments and building resumes.
Director of Special Populations Rebecca Bensema said, “these laptops provide much-needed technology and innovative opportunities to participants with little to no access to the technology needed for successful reentry.”
The laptops also lessen issues surrounding the current COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. Birmingham DRC Administrator Leah Thompson said, “the laptops are useful for facilitating social distancing protocols so that limited students may be spread out in multiple classrooms while attending programming via teleconference.”
The challenges of COVID-19 have sparked creativity with the DRC Administrators in their efforts to continue programming safely. Even after the COVID-19 crisis is over, the innovations brought on by the pandemic will be useful for assisting clients and helping reduce recidivism.
The Bureau’s decision to provide refurbished laptops to DRCs evolved from an idea Tuscaloosa DRC Administrator Curtis Crawley presented to his officers. Crawley suggested the Bureau consider requesting donations of laptops no longer in use from outside organizations and restore them for use at DRCs. Bensema collaborated with the Bureau’s Information Technology division and discovered the Bureau had enough older model laptops on-hand that could be restored and issued to the facility administrators without needing to request devices from outside organizations.
The Bureau’s IT division, particularly System Specialists William Glenn, Josh Parker and others, worked tirelessly to restore the devices to modern functionality. Information Technology Director Ira Shaw said, “when the opportunity presented itself, IT came together to make a difference both in support of our agency and those seeking to turn their lives around and become more productive citizens.
Afterwards, the laptops were distributed by Bensema, DRC District Manager Stephanie Stewart and DRC Lite District Manager Chris Causey.
Day Reporting Centers provide counseling, educational training and supervision for probationers and parolees. With a focus on employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, mental health, and cognitive restructuring needs, DRC staff is committed to reducing recidivism rates and improving public safety through behavior change. Currently, full Day Reporting Centers are located in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. Day Reporting Center Lites, condensed versions of our DRCs incorporated into field offices and offering similar treatment, are located in Bay Minette, Fort Payne, Guntersville, Opelika and now Jasper.
More information on Day Reporting Centers can be found on the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles website: https://paroles.alabama.gov/about-us/field-operations/special-populations-and-programs/day-reporting-centers/