Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

access to books is important

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“In Brazil the Redemption through Reading program has been created with the intention that prisoners will not only improve their literacy skills but so that “a person can leave prison more enlightened and with an enlarged vision of the world”.

— Alex Hundert

blurry overexposed book shelf

It’s bad enough that there is no longer any funding for librarians in Ontario’s public school system.

It seems to me that people in jail should have as much access to books as possible. While in jail, inmates occupied in reading may well be improving their minds, possibly improving their literacy, maybe even learning empathy. At minimum, they are occupied. I’m guessing inmates who read in jail are less likely to re-offend on release. Are Canadian jails and prisons intended to punish or rehabilitate?

Having read the following four articles by writer Alex Hundert, a political activist currently serving time, writing from jail:

No Books for Prisoners: An Open Letter to the MWDC

No Books for Prisoners Part 2

Abusive Authority Means Little Hope: No Books for Prisoners Part 3

No Books for Prisoners Part 4

as a lifetime reader and writer, I am appalled.

It seems nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment to deny prisoners access to reading material.

School children at least have other options.  Prisoners do not.


glossary

the cart = a library trolley carrying as many as 150 books which makes the rounds through the jail to deliver books to inmates

MDWC = Metro West Detention Centre aka “the West”

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

January 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

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