Grant to Fund Education for Inmates

Helen Pedotti gets a hug and the certificate of recognition from outgoing SBCC President John Romo and with Sheriiff Bill Brown
Paul Wellman

Helen Pedotti, a longtime supporter of Santa Barbara City College, donated $278,000 to create a designated classroom at the County Jail so that City College adult education instructors can soon provide educational opportunities for inmates. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a very a long time,” said Pedotti, a member of the Schott family after whom the adult education Schott Center is named. “The hope is that people in jail can be released back to society as more productive members of society and not get back into trouble. That way, we’ll all be safer and save a tremendous amount of money as well.” Sheriff Bill Brown said Pedotti’s gift will help address the inmates’ varied educational needs by relying on computerized educational packages and tech-savvy instructors. Currently, the jail offers some learning opportunities, but they’re scattered throughout the jail. Brown said he’s hoping the new program will offer inmates an opportunity to obtain their high school equivalency, learn computer skills, take general education classes, or pursue English as a second language instruction. The computers will not be hooked up to the Internet, he said, so as to prevent opportunities for porn or identity theft by enterprising inmates.

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