ComputerCorps receives grant to employ inmates

A Carson City computer repair/recycling center received a $149,000 federal grant to continue its job training program for Nevada State Prison inmates.

Michael Jensen, ComputerCorps' director of volunteer development and AmeriCorps program, said Wednesday the organization had to provide a percentage match, which came to $114,000, to secure the funds.

This year the No Computer Left Behind program had 18 AmeriCorps members, 12 of whom were inmates. AmeriCorps members are provided a monthly living allowance for participating in a yearlong community service program.

The repaired computers and electrical hardware are donated to children and senior citizens.

When the new program starts on Oct. 1, it will have only 12 inmate participants. Jensen said because of this year's experience he's learned that the program doesn't work as well with citizens.

"They only received an $850 a month living allowance," Jensen said. "That's the only thing they get paid. In this area it's real difficult to support yourself on that."

This year ComputerCorps had six residents participate and five of them left because of financial reasons.

This year the inmates will receive $866 a month from the program, and that goes toward paying their restitution, and any other financial responsibilities.

"The commission and I both agreed it would be best if we stayed with inmates to get them ready to go out into the public sector. We only use minimum security inmates within 36 months of parole."

The Nevada Commission for National and Community Service Inc. secured more than $1.4 million in federal funding for Nevada's AmeriCorps programs this next fiscal year.

The funding will support 186 members serving more than 205,000 hours in Clark, Elko, Humboldt, Storey, Washoe counties and Carson City.

The number of AmeriCorps members serving in Nevada will increase by 15 percent from fiscal year 2004/2005, according to the commission.

The inmates work in various areas within ComputerCorps, including the stripping down and repair of computers. They also receive computer skills training.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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