At the end of Bill Nemitz’s Jan. 4 column, “Maine jails part empty of inmates or part full?,” he notes the recent increase of adults incarcerated in Maine. And he rues the fact that taxpayers are reluctant to spend public funds on rehabilitation of people while they are in jail.

There is a nonprofit organization based here in Brunswick, the College Guild, that is helping with rehabilitation of inmates across the U.S. It does so by offering education through correspondence courses.

These 22 free, nontraditional courses cover subjects as varied as precision drawing, Greek mythology, history, writing short stories, gardening and dogs. The goal is to stimulate an interest in lifelong learning in an atmosphere of respect and encouragement.

The teachers are volunteers who work one on one with prisoners via mail. The coordinating role of the College Guild preserves the anonymity of both prisoner and teacher.

A prisoner recently wrote: “Thanks to the College Guild, their volunteers and supporters, for helping those behind bars reduce recidivism so they don’t have to miss any more Christmases with family and friends.”

Another wrote: “You are making me use parts of my mind that I have not used in a long time. I am told it is also affecting my behavior. Not sure how, but I have gotten into a LOT less trouble and drama.”

I volunteer as a reader for the College Guild and find it very satisfying. I urge others to learn more about it at:

Carolyn Harrington