OPINION: Unlocking A Prisoner’s Potential

Left to Right: Father Scott Euvrard, St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Cohasset; Laser (Father Scott’s dog); Connie Afshar, Cohasset Diversity Committee; Arthur Bembury, Executive Director of ‘Partakers’; and Cohasset resident Rick Shea.

January 19, 2023 By Michael Weymouth

My wife and I attended a diversity breakfast in Cohasset on Martin Luther King Day. The featured speaker was Arthur Bembury, executive director of PARTAKERS, an organization that works with prison inmates to help them attain a college degree while serving time in prison. Bembury himself is a former convict who graduated from this program and is now one of its greatest advocates.

PARTAKERS’ mission is to help reduce recidivism by promoting education and providing community mentoring for incarcerated women and men pursuing their degrees and educational opportunities. Their results have been transformative. Studies show that recidivism shows a six-year national average of 79 percent, that is 79 percent of prisoners will go on to commit crimes that will land them back in prison. Students who graduate from the PARTAKERS College Behind Bars Program shoe a recidivism rate of just 2 percent. Many of the residents attending the gathering were both volunteers who participated in PARTAKERS’ programs or financial supporters or both. This is good news for a country with one of the highest incarceration rates in the world and one that tends to dismiss the word “correctional” in describing its prisons. PARTAKERS challenges the attitude of “lock ‘em up and throw away the keys” with one of giving incarcerated people the keys to a more promising future. The event was sponsored by the Cohasset Diversity Committee, which like Hingham’s Unity Council, seeks to create and maintain a more inclusive society and an appreciation of the value of diversity.

For those interested in assisting the PARTAKERS organization with administration, social media, marketing and fund raising contact arthurbembury@partakers.org. And of course financial support is always greatly appreciated.

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