Barntown's computer kids helped by staff and inmates from Mountjoy
BARNTOWN National School gave a big thumbs up to the inmates and staff at Mountjoy Prison after the school was presented with 10 computers refurbished as part of a restorative justice programme at the prison.
Governor of Mountjoy Brian Murphy travelled to Wexford last Thursday and personally presented the computers to a very grateful school, which commended the prisoners and staff on what it termed a worthy venture.
'We will put their gifts to good use,' said Barntown Curate and school board member Fr John Carroll.
The computer refurbishment project at Mountjoy is led by Work Training Officer Tom Crone who holds qualifications from Microsoft to Licence the use of refurbished or reconditioned computers.
Tom has a team of six prisoners involved in the project who work day in day out receiving the necessary training and skills to carry out this work.
Mr Murphy, who lives in the county, said the project is a win/win for all involved.
The prisoners achieve an accredited qualification while in prison and some them have been successful in obtaining paid employment upon release with Microsoft.
Mr Murphy said it also provides them with an opportunity to give something back to the community/society as they are aware the computers are put to good use in schools/community centres/old folks homes etc. and so there is very much a restorative practice component to this initiative where they get some sense of redemption for their past offending behaviour.
Principal Louisa O Brien has since written to me in Mountjoy, on behalf of the Board of management, teachers and pupils of Scoil Mhuire, to express their thanks for the donation of the computers and expressing their delight at having been part of this initiative.
She passed on a special word of thanks to Tom Crone who came to the school to install the computers and stated that the pupils were delighted to work with him and are still talking about all they learned.
She concluded by thanking the management and staff of Mountjoy prison and in particular the inmates who worked on the computers in the workshop in Mountjoy and she wished all concerned continued success with our endeavours with this restorative programme.
'For my part I am delighted to have been of assistance to the teachers and pupils of Scoil Mhuire in providing these computers which I have no doubt will be put to great use and which will enhance the IT skills of all the students,' said Mr Murphy.