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9-11-2013 -- Indexing
In August 2012, the Weber County Sheriffs Office Corrections Division began a pilot Program sponsored by the LDS church. The Program, called “indexing” is a web based genealogy program in which inmates volunteer to attend, and transcribe photographed historical documents from around the world, into a modern format. Inmates of all faiths are invited and do participate in the program. These records are then made available through Ancestry.com assisting the general public in researching their heritage. Because of the success of Indexing at Weber County, the program is beginning to expand to other counties and in other states.
The LDS church donated the equipment and volunteers used in the program which consists of 15 laptop computers and 6 volunteer Program Supervisors. We started the program with 2 volunteers conducting 2 sessions a week. Each session was three hours long and was attended by an average of 6-8 male inmates. We currently have 6 instructors volunteering for a total of 33 hours a week.
So far there have been over 380 inmates participate in the program. To date our inmates have transcribed over 200,000 names into the modern format.
Leslie Pierce, one of our Program volunteers said, “I think the most important part for the inmates, is giving them a chance to be of service to others and contribute to others’ happiness”.
A past inmate states “I love to see when someone feels they have succeeded at something. Too often inmates don’t get to feel the feeling of accomplishment and success.”
Indexing also benefits the inmates because many have little or no computer training. This gives them exposure to basic computer concepts. It also exposes them to a professional working environment. Program volunteer James Pierce said, “They (inmates) also come away with some analytical thinking skills. This Program really works your brain.”