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PCF offenders reach out to families of Newtown shooting

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PUTNAMVILLE -- Offenders at the Putnamville Correctional Facility have extended their condolences to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting through cards, letters and prayer.

Some 148 offenders assigned to the Purposeful Living Unit Serve (PLUS) program at the Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF) were in agreement when fellow inmates Travis Lyell and Andrew Devore, from New Albany, suggested making a sympathy card and writing a letter of condolence to the victims' families in Newtown, Conn.

"It was all their idea," PLUS coordinator Karumathil Kumaran said. "They approached me to do this ... every offender in the dorm wanted to be part of it."

With that, the offenders used the supplies that were available to them and made a card decorating it with imprints of their hands and words of encouragement, "we wish that there was more that we could do to express our hearts to you all, to lessen and to diminish the pain and hurt that you feel."

Asked why they did this, Devore replied, "We were both watching the news when they started reading the names of the kids. The reality of it didn't really hit until they showed the kids pictures."

As Devore's words trailed off, Lyell chimed in.

"I have a daughter that's eight," Lyell said. "When they showed the picture of a little girl that was eight too, we both looked at each other at the same time knowing that we had to do something. It could have been our kids at their schools."

PCF Supt. Stanley Knight applauded the offenders for their initiative, adding that "they felt compassion for the victims and families of this tragic event. Their actions and willingness to reach out exemplify the core values of the program."

Purposeful Living Units Serve offers participants alternatives for rehabilitation by integrating spirituality, honesty, respect and responsibility for others.

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