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Retired professor runs Prison Book Program, giving inmates opportunities to learn

Retired Professor Runs Prison Book Program Giving Inmates Opportunities To Learn
Retired Professor Runs Prison Book Program Giving Inmates Opportunities To Learn 02:22

BOSTON (CBS) – A former college professor in Massachusetts is giving prisoners around the country a new opportunity for education, and she's doing it without even teaching any classes.

Kelly Brotzman and her army of volunteers answer correspondence letters from people who are incarcerated. Brotzman runs the Prison Book Program in Quincy.  

Before retiring from her job as a professor, Brotzman had the opportunity to teach college classes in a several correctional facilities..

"Books are one of the very few resources that people who are incarcerated have available to them to learn a skill, to grow as humans," Brotzman said. "We get people who ask us for books on astrophysics, we get people who ask us for books on learning Chinese, we get people who ask us for books on birding, homesteading, bees."

Brotzman said that one venture changed her forever.

"Some people tell us they cry when they receive a package from us. Some people tell us the handwritten invoice that comes in the package is the only correspondence they've received in a year," she said.

One of the most common requests from inmates is for books teaching them to draw. Another of the most popular books the organization sends out is the dictionary.

"It's empowering when you know you can just go and look up a word. If there's something you don't understand, you can go look it up. It's in answer book in a lot of ways," Brotzman said.

Brotzman said the program is set to send out more than 15,000 packages this year. They send them out to over 45 states, along with Guam and Puerto Rico.

"We think that books contain possibilities. So we are just excited to be able to provide those possibilities for people," Brotzman said. 

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