Grace Smith school receives 30 computers from Calipatria prison

September 11, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

NILAND — Students at one of the Imperial Valley's poorest schools received a welcome gift from Calipatria State Prison on Monday.

Grace Smith Elementary School Principal Douglas Kline said this latest batch of 30 computers, the third Kline remembers coming from the prison, will aid the school's effort to create "mini computer labs" in classrooms.

Students use computers at Grace Smith for research, typing papers and using educational software, among other things, Kline said.

These computers are among the finest the school has received from Calipatria State Prison, Kline said.

"Now they're kicking out the good stuff," Kline said jokingly.

The market rate of each computer is about $300, making the total value $9,000, Kline said. Each computer came complete with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Most also had CD-ROMs.

The prison also offers one of the best warranties around, Kline said.

If something goes wrong with one of the computers within one year, the school can take it back and get another one, no questions asked, Kline said.


"Most of the time we get another one and it's better than the first," Kline added.

The prison has been giving out free inmate-refurbished computers since 1994, said Thelma Swetich, prison public information officer. Many Imperial Valley schools, including some in Calipatria, Brawley, Imperial and El Centro, have been recipients of nearly 300 computers refurbished by Calipatria prison inmates.

Inmates learn to refurbish the machines from an instructor during a class at the prison, Swetich said.

"We can't thank them enough," Kline said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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