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Braille Transcription

The Braille Division at Anamosa transcribes print materials into Braille, reproduces Braille materials already transcribed, and now produces Brailled business cards.

Incarcerated men training in the Braille Division are certified in Literary Braille, Nemeth Code (For Mathematics), Music Braille and Literary Proofreading by The Library of Congress - National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Stringent guidelines require inmates to train for six months to over a year to receive each of these certifications. Associates are often allowed to continue training and transcribing materials into Braille if they are transferred to another prison within Iowa. 

A wide range of materials can be transcribed: music, math, grammar, history, social studies, foreign languages, biology and other sciences, and literature. Maps or diagrams in the original text are reproduced as raised-line drawings and included in the material. Entire textbooks may take 6-12 months to transcribe, depending on its length and complexity. Large projects such as textbooks are done in sections and shipped as each section is completed. 

All transcribed materials are listed on the LOUIS database located at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. Copies of IPI-transcribed items in this database are ordered directly through IPI.

Iowa Prison Industries can also reproduce copies of Braille books already completed. Duplicates are made either on a high-speed Braille embosser for books done on a computer or by a heat/vacuum process for older books. An order can generally be produced and shipped within 2 weeks.

In 2015, IPI launched it's new Braille on Demand service, which allows for Iowa PK-12 educators to order the transcription of documents up to ten pages into Braille for students and receive them within just a few days. This allows educators to provide students material from a variety of sources. Orders are processed via the dedicated Braille on Demand website (bod.iaprisonind.com). Between 100 and 200 Braille on Demand orders are processed monthly during the school year.

While Braille on Demand is only available to Iowa PK-12 schools, a similar program is available for eligible customers in Iowa or outside of Iowa. Express Braille is also a web-based program located at expressbraille.iaprisonind.com

In 2008, the Braille staff and offenders were recognized by the Iowa Corrections Association (ICA) for Outstanding Correctional Program. The criteria for this award is “a group of correctional workers or a program which has shown outstanding achievement, perseverance, dedication, and/or vision in an area of endeavor. The recipients should be employed directly in the field of corrections in the State of Iowa, however they do not necessarily have to be members of ICA”. Deputy Director Larry Brimeyer nominated the Braille shop for this award... “no program better exemplifies the meaning of giving back to society than this year’s winning program.”

For more information on our Braille services, please contact Customer Service at at 800-332-7922 or email ipibraille@iowa.gov.

Photo of offender transcribing materails into braille


Photo of embossed braille


Photo of offender performing braille transcription