Collecting books is often the easiest part of donating to prison libraries. At times libraries are closed, or understaffed, or lacking services such as working x-ray machines to process donated boxes of books. Volunteer Carol just wrote to report how she solved the problem of books collected with no where to put them. "Just wanted you to know Deputy Jason Zaehringer of the Knox County Jail stopped by yesterday and took 12 boxes of books for the jail library". Thank you Carol and Deputy Zaehringer!
The Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro, which was closed in 2012, is reopening as a "...minimum-security prison focused on 'life skills and re-entry,' where inmates nearing their release dates will receive educational, vocational and life-skills training..." according to an AP press release. http://www.sj-r.com/news/20161014/ex-illinois-youth-prison-to-reopen-as-life-skills-facility
Dana, a librarian from Pinckneyville CC came to Carbondale to find books for the new adult facility's general library from both the public library and the 3Rs book room at First Christian Church. Both the Carbondale Library Director, Diana, and a volunteer, Kara, from the Mormons assisted us in this project. Six boxes of books and one box of magazines were donated.
Loretta, Director of the Sallie Logan Public Library in Murphysboro will be inviting area CC librarians to choose books after their next book sale later this month.
Carol Gloor of the Savanna 3Rs chapter is pictured below. Two teachers and the librarian from the Kewanee CC picked up 12 boxes of books on October 17.
Our 3Rs Chapter in Carbondale was featured in The Southern Illinoisan. Check it out here!
The Carbondale 3R's Project is an outstanding example of advocacy for incarcerated youth and adults through volunteerism, book recycling efforts, and community networking and collaboration. Since the summer of 2015, the Carbondale 3R's Project has grown considerably in the number of community groups contributing time and donations, public libraries offering leftover books, correctional facilities served, and books and magazines distributed at no charge.
Volunteers from the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois, the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship's Social Action Committee, First Christian Church of Carbondale, Southern Illinois Quaker Meeting, Church Women United, Bookworm, the Friends of the Carbondale Public Library, the Murphysboro Senior Citizen's Center Resale Shop, and Friends of Sallie Logan Library in Murphysboro all helped in some way by donating, choosing, packing, and/or loading books to be given to local prison libraries in 2016.
In addition to the public libraries in Carbondale and Murphysboro, the Sparta Public Library plans to join in the effort by providing their book sale remainders to prison libraries.
Seven correctional facilities' staff visited the Carbondale Public Library, the Sallie Logan Library in Murphysboro and/or the Carbondale First Christian Church 3R's book room to choose free reading materials for their libraries: The Illinois Youth Center-Harrisburg, Vienna Correctional Center, Big Muddy River Correctional Center, Menard Correctional Center, Pinckneyville Correctional Center, and Illinois Youth Center-Pere Marquette. Of note is that one facility now has its first staff librarian in over 15 years.
Over the past year, the Carbondale 3R's program donated a total of one hundred and three (103) boxes of books and fourteen (14) boxes of magazines to the above correctional facilities.
Volunteers are always welcome to help on the day correctional center staff visit the local libraries. If you wish to donate books to the 3R's project, please donate the books to the Carbondale or Murphysboro Public Libraries. Correctional center staff are able to choose desired books after the libraries' book sales from the remaining stock. Books and magazines are also chosen from the 3R's book room at First Christian Church in Carbondale. Donations of very sturdy bookcases for the 3R's book room and very recent magazines would be appreciated. Contact: Maurine Pyle at email@example.com.
Carol Gloor, coordinator of the Savanna 3Rs chapter is pictured below with East Moline CC librarian Joshua Baker. On April 29, 2016, Carol coordinated a donation of 12 boxes of books!
3Rs recently coordinated a major donation and pick-up with librarians from three correctional centers (see the pics below!) The books were much needed and much appreciated by the librarians and inmates alike. Remaining books were given to our sister organization, Books to Prisoners.
We'd also like to give a shoutout to Megan Maurer, Robinson CC employee of the year! Congrats!
A recent article in the New York Times discusses the value in providing education for prisoners, as it increases their chances of gaining employment upon release and reduced recidivism. It explains,
"New Yorkers pay about $60,000 per inmate per year — a considerable burden given that 40 percent of those who are released return within three years, most for economically driven crimes. ... A prison education program created by Bard College in 2001 boasts a remarkable recidivism rate of 4 percent for inmates who merely participated in the program and 2.5 percent for those who earned degrees in prison. In addition, research has shown that the public saves $4 to $5 in reimprisonment costs for every $1 it spends on prison education."
Read the full article here.
The following letters were received from inmates (names redacted) at the Hill Correctional Center following a book donation. These letters really show what a big difference books can make in their lives.
Barbara Kessel, founding member of 3Rs, receives James R. Burgess Jr.-Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award.
Barbara Kessel has been named as the recipient of the Burgess-Freiburg award, which recognizes humanitarian efforts of individuals and organizations that "improve the human condition by alleviating suffering and contributing to the basic human dignity of those in need." It will be presented to her at Friday's 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Countywide Celebration at Parkland College.
Read the full story here.