By Phil Messerli, Administrative Assistant/ PIO

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, who represents the 36th District of California, recently visited Ironwood State Prison (ISP).

During his visit, Rep. Ruiz toured various areas of the facility including housing units, administrative segregation, classrooms and other program areas.

During the tour, the Congressman talked with staff as well as inmate participants in the Palo Verde Community College Program and Ironwood Braille Program (IBP).

Rep. Ruiz observed firsthand how college and IBP provide a positive learning experience for inmates.  These programs prepare inmate’s to succeed and/or contribute to society by helping them obtain the skills necessary to be successful upon release.

The highly successful Ironwood State Prison Palo Verde Community College Program has achieved 1,188 inmates receiving college degrees.

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U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, left, and ISP Warden Dave Long.

The IBP has resulted in dozens of inmates being certified by the United States Library of Congress as Braille Transcribers.

Through a partnership with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and the Alternate Text Production Company, ISP’s Braille transcribers transcribe hundreds of college textbooks yearly to the benefit of visually impaired students.

Upon concluding his visit, Rep. Ruiz said, “I am pleased to see that effective education opportunities are provided at Ironwood State Prison that results in significantly reduced re-incarceration.”

Since its inception, the college program has proven effective in greatly reducing recidivism rates among the graduates.

Warden Dave Long said, “We are extremely proud of our unique and effective programs here at Ironwood State Prison and I was pleased to have the opportunity to showcase these programs for Congressman Ruiz during his visit.”