OKLAHOMA CITY (7/14/10)--Tinker FCU (TFCU), Oklahoma City, is teaching financial education to prison inmates to help them become financially sound when they are released. Cynthia Campbell, TFCU assistant vice president and manager of the credit union’s Financial Empowerment Program, has conducted workshops at two minimum-security prisons in Oklahoma for prisoners who are within one year of being released. “I’m not sure I would ever have thought to pursue these channels, but after conducting workshops at two minimum-security prisons at the request of the Department of Corrections, I can’t think of any group who needs it more,” Campbell said. At Clara Waters Community Corrections Center, a men’s facility, she presented “Building a Better Budget” and “Understanding Credit” to 30 inmates. At Hillside Community Corrections, a women’s facility, she presented the same topics to 37 inmates. “They are making plans for how to reintegrate into their family life and society,” Campbell said. “They have all the same concerns everyone else has, like how they’re going to pay their bills and make a living.” She said that the inmates were “a gracious audience” and several were TFCU members. Since being incarcerated, their only means of conducting financial business is by phone. Inmates said member service representatives at TFCU always treat them respectfully. “I learned that incarceration is hard on the soul,” Campbell added. “Many of these people were depressed. Just the fact that TFCU cared enough to show up and take an interest in them, teach them and give them a free pen made their entire week.” TFCU has presented financial education workshops to teens in a drop-out recovery program, the Supporting Kids in Independent Living program, and those in the Department of Human Services system who are about to “age out” of the system when they turn 18. “They need advice on how to get a job, maintain a budget and manage checking account,” Campbell said. “Our goal in providing free financial education is to help people, and we love to bring that sort of knowledge to teens who probably won’t get it anywhere else.” The credit union has presented roughly 443 financial education workshops to more than 10,000 children and adults in 2009, and is on track to exceed those numbers this year. TFCU has more than $2 billion in assets.