CUs Help Inmates at the Maine Correctional Facility Make Smarter Financial Decisions

Maine’s credit unions strongly support efforts to promote financial literacy in the communities they serve. While much of our work is done through our school financial fitness fairs, credit unions are always looking to expand their reach to help more consumers make smarter financial decisions. This includes outreach to Maine’s inmate population.

“For the past five years, we have been coordinating Financial Fitness Fairs for inmates at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham,” said Brenda Piecuch, Vice President of Compliance at PeoplesChoice Credit Union. “Through our Chapter, PeoplesChoice CU, York County FCU, Saco Valley CU, and Northeast CU have worked together to help inmates that are preparing to return to society. The inmates we work with typically have release dates with six months to a year.”

During the fairs, inmates are educated about the importance of building good credit, budgeting, and making smart choices when it comes to buying food, clothing, technology, transportation, housing, and home furnishings. Similar to the school fairs, inmates learn to make life choices based on their occupation.

“I’ve volunteered at numerous Financial Fitness Fairs across the state and always feel like I’ve made a difference in the lives of the attendees when I leave,” said Jake Holmes, League Financial Literacy and Outreach Coordinator. “This sentiment remains true when I volunteer at the Maine Correctional Center Fairs. Inmates always thank the volunteers for their assistance and seem appreciative of their time. It’s a fulfilling experience and I encourage others to volunteer there going forward.”

The first Financial Fitness Fair at the Maine Correctional Center was held in 2014. Since 2017, two fairs are held at the facility each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Approximately 50 – 100 inmates participate at each session.

“Everyone deserves a second chance and providing these inmates some much-needed financial guidance will help them be successful when they are released from prison,” added Piecuch. “These fairs are “People Helping People” at its finest, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”