Incarcerated offenders complete sign language program

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) held a graduation ceremony Thursday, July 25, 2013 for 10 male and female offenders who have recently completed a three-year sign language interpretation program.

The graduation was held at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel. Offenders from Rayburn Correctional Center, Louisiana State Penitentiary and the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women were recognized.

There are more than 2,000 hearing impaired offenders in DOC custody, with approximately three dozen who are profoundly deaf. These offenders require interpretation services not only for daily living but also to participate in educational and reentry programming.

DPS&C Secretary James M. Le Blanc says Louisiana's unique program allows for volunteer offenders to earn national certification in sign language interpretation while serving a valuable need for fellow inmates.

This is the second class of students to complete the three-year program. Six students from the 2012 and 2013 graduating classes have earned national certification, which makes it possible for them to interpret in various public settings. These are the first offenders in the country to earn national certification in sign language interpretation.