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.
Margaret Thomas, librarian at Dixon CC picks up 13 boxes of books from Carol Gloor (right) and Pastor Neal Schoffner of the 3Rs Savanna Chapter.
The Woman's Club of Mt Prospect has donated books for Pontiac and Lawrence Correctional Center libraries. More books are coming, including donated books from Niles High School in Skokie. Thank you Mt Prospect Women's Club, especially Lori and Joe!
The First Congressional Church in Crystal Lake has approximately 25 boxes of books awaiting pick up by the Sheridan Correctional Center librarian. A broken x-Ray machine has hindered the process. Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon.
The efforts of 3Rs and Books to Prisoners, as well as Project Read and the Education Justice Project were featured in a recent article in Parkland College's newspaper, The Prospectus. It discusses the differences these groups make in the community and how Parkland students can become involved.
Read the full article here: http://www.prospectusnews.com/2015/10/02/local-groups-work-to-educate-prisoners/
The following letter was recently received from a prisoner:
I want to thank you for donating books to the library. It is good to see there is still some good hearted people in this cold world. Please continue to send them. The description of my education is low, but through your books and the help of the educators I know only a wonderful effect can come from it. So please continue to help the inmates at _________(correctional center). It's the small things that make a big difference in people's life. As an example, I was having a bad day and then I walked into the library and she handed me a book that was donated by your association. And then I said to myself, "it is people in this world that do care about other people's situation. So please continue to save and change lives."
Sincerely, (name withheld)
P.S. Knowledge is [the] source of success. Everybody deserves a chance to learn and discover new ways. Thank you for contributing to that chance."
The Carbondale 3R's Project was very active in August, and is pleased to announce the Centralia Correctional Center began participating in the 3Rs program. Community volunteers from the Peace Coalition of SI, the Social Action Committee of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, the Southern Illinois Quakers, and Friends of the Carbondale Public Library helped to choose, pack, and load books leftover from library book sales for donation to local prison libraries. On August 3, 2015, Harrisburg Youth Center received 10 boxes of books and 1 box of magazines from the Carbondale Public Library and the 3R's Book Room at First Christian Church of Carbondale. On August 6th, Big Muddy River Correctional Center received 20 boxes of books and 3 boxes of magazines, and on August 8, Centralia Correctional Center obtained 5 boxes of books.
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. Donations of very sturdy bookcases for the book room and very recent magazines would be appreciated. Contact MJ email@example.com for more information.
Original article here: http://www.wsiltv.com/news/local/Lawyer-Speaks-Out-About-Illinois-Prison-System--328432611.html
Jim Chapman, an attorney and member of of the Carbondale 3Rs chapter was the keynote speaker at the New Humanist forum at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship sponsored by the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois.
He spoke about how the prisons dysfunctional, underfunded, and understaffed, but that the local community has the power to come together and make changes.
"There has to be a participation by the private sector --- mainly us," Chapman said. "Because the state at this point, and the prisons in particular, don't have the money to do what they should be doing."
The organization will host a full week of nonviolence events.
The librarian at Sheridan is ready for another donation of 3Rs books. The Correctional Center’s x-ray machine has been broken, which suspended deliveries for a while. She has recently received permission to accept boxes of books despite the problem with the x-ray machine. Kathryn Gooding at the First Congregation Church of Crystal Lake continues to collect books for Sheridan.
Janet Wilmoth who has connections to the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs has been collecting books since spring. So far she has donated books to Dixon and for the Reception Center at Statesville. She recently drove 400 paperback books to the Reception Center.
Jenna Silver, a law student at Loyola, is planning a book collection this fall. Books may go to Pontiac, Sheridan, and/or the Reception Center depending on which facility is ready to receive them.
Pontiac maximum security has been without a librarian for the past year but an associate has been hired and is being trained to reopen the library. Beatrice would like books for the maximum security library—hard covers for the library but also needs a lot of paperbacks for the men in segregation. She noted that young adult fiction is popular right now. A box of books was recently mailed to Pontiac from 3Rs.