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Using Vision Therapy to Improve Opportunities for Juvenile Offenders and Adult Inmates

WHEREAS, more than 2.3 million Americans are currently incarcerated in America's prisons and jails, and more than 40% of these men, women and children are African- American; and

WHEREAS, many of these individuals have a long-standing history of inadequate healthcare, including vision care and therapy; and

WHEREAS, undetected vision impairment has been a proven attribute to poor academic achievement and a correlation has been shown between visual perception problems, persistent learning problems and juvenile delinquency; and

WHEREAS, vision therapy is a component of the healthcare services provided by the profession of optometry, and consists of visual training through screening or evaluation, vision rehabilitation or a treatment program designed to correct vision – motor and/or perceptual – cognitive deficiencies which have various causes; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent upon the local, state and federal governments to work to rehabilitate and provide all prisoners with skills and the means to become productive members of society upon their release from incarceration; and

WHEREAS, statistics from multiple case studies demonstrate the positive impact of vision therapy upon the recidivism rate of formerly incarcerated individuals.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the NAACP recognizes that one way of helping some prisoners become productive members of their communities upon release from incarceration and avoid recidivism is to ensure quality, comprehensive vision therapy; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP, through its members and units, will educate the community, elected officials, and correctional facilities about merits of comprehensive healthcare including early detection vision therapy as a tool in reducing recidivism and increasing opportunities for persons reentering society.

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