DURHAM, N.C. (PRWEB) October 31, 2017
James Smith Farrin, Consultant for the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin was one of five winners of the AARP Purpose Prize™ award, which recognizes outstanding work by people age 50 and over that is focused on advancing social good. Farrin received the award for outstanding work as Executive Director of the Petey Greene Program – a non-profit organization that trains college students and other volunteers to tutor individuals incarcerated in U.S. prisons in an effort to help them obtain their GED or college degree.
More than 67% of incarcerated persons who leave the prison system return to prison within three years. But those who took two educational courses were 43% less likely to return to prison, according to a 2013 RAND Corporation study. Further, the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research determined that $1 million spent on corrections prevents 350 crimes, but $1 million spent on correctional education prevents 600 crimes.
“Becoming a meaningful part of the Petey Greene Program and growing it from the ground up has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Farrin said. “And to think I nearly declined the offer.”
In 2007, a former Princeton University classmate asked Farrin if he would consider starting the Petey Greene Program. At first, Farrin was reluctant to leave his long-time career as an international management consultant, and he passed on the offer. The next day, Farrin’s wife attended a function, where she happened to meet the chaplain supervisor at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility, the prison facility where Farrin was planning to send that first group of volunteer students.
“There was no doubt in my mind that this was a sign from above, and so I accepted the offer and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life,” Farrin said.
That first year Farrin organized efforts to train a group of 24 Princeton student volunteers to tutor incarcerated students at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility. In the 2016-17 academic year, 715 Petey Greene volunteer students from eight states provided tutoring to over 2,000 incarcerated students at no cost to the 37 correctional facilities.
“And we have about 30 more colleges from other states asking us to come train their students to tutor as volunteers. As word spreads about the success of this program, more and more correctional facilities are asking for our help too,” he said. “The success stories will move you to tears.”
Farrin shared one story very dear to him. It is about a student from Farrin’s pilot group of incarcerated students from the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility where those initial 24 Princeton students tutored.
“When a local paper ran a story about the Petey Greene Program, a former Petey Greene incarcerated student called the reporter to thank her for writing the story because, he said, the program ‘literally changed my life.’ The reporter called me to share that story, and I reached out to the student. He told me he was one of the original incarcerated students and that he is now in the Princeton Divinity School in his second year and plans to open a Christian halfway house for prisoners who are re-entering society.”
Who is Petey Greene?
The Petey Greene Program is named in honor of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene, Jr., who was a TV and radio talk show host and community activist who overcame drug addiction and a prison sentence to become one of the most notable media personalities in Washington, D.C. history.
About the AARP Purpose Prize Award
Each winner of the AARP Purpose Prize will receive a $50,000 cash award from AARP at the AARP Purpose Prize Award Gala, held in Chicago November 2. Farrin plans to donate proceeds to the Petey Greene Program.
ABOUT THE LAW OFFICES OF JAMES SCOTT FARRIN
The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is headquartered in the American Tobacco Historic District, adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, in Durham, North Carolina, with 13 additional offices statewide in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Goldsboro, Henderson, New Bern, Raleigh, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Sanford, Wilson, and Winston-Salem. The firm’s 45 attorneys focus on the following practice areas: Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, Eminent Domain, Intellectual Property, Civil Rights, Mass Torts, and Products Liability. Seven of the attorneys are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law and one is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is involved in the community, including sponsorship of local philanthropic organizations.
280 S. Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701