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North Carolina
Michael F. Easley, Governor           Theodis Beck, Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2001
Contact: Mildred Spearman
             (919) 716-3724

Inmates at Avery/Mitchell make it easier for western schools to buy computers

SPRUCE PINE - Inmates at Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution are repairing used computers that will be distributed to schools in western North Carolina as part of the award-winning Computers for Schools Program. Avery/Mitchell's participation in the program makes it easier for schools in the western part of the state to obtain the refurbished computers.

"Now that Avery Mitchell can refurbish computers for schools in the western part of the state, it really helps with distribution," says Randy Rutledge, supervisor at Surplus Computer Warehouse. "Now schools will not have to drive as far to pick up the computers."

The Computers for Schools Program was implemented by the State Surplus Property Agency in 1997 as a way to place more computers into the public school system by recycling computers dedicated as surplus property. Under the program, state agencies are asked to send all used computer equipment to State Surplus Property, where it is separated and analyzed for condition and capability. Inmates salvage the usable parts to create working computers that will be distributed to public and charter schools.

"It really helps the schools, especially with the budget so tight," says Bryan Johnson, programs supervisor at Avery/Mitchell. "Plus, once the inmates get out of prison they will have sufficient training to get a good job."

The Avery/Mitchell inmates repair the computers in conjunction with educational and vocational training offered through Mayland Community College. In addition to learning computer repair skills, they also can learn basic computer literacy, programming, networking and the fundamentals of starting a business.

Last month, Beech Mountain Elementary School in Beech Mountain bought 10 computers refurbished by inmates at Avery/Mitchell. Other schools interested in purchasing computers through the program should contact the State Surplus Property Agency at (919) 733-2885. Schools pay only $20 for each computer, which includes the hard drive, monitor, keyboard and mouse.


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