prison library

Prison library systems and statistics


There is a case study of literacy and prison libraries, including information on demographics with a discussion of "empowerment" published in 1993; here is the citation:

Shethar, A. (1993). Literacy and "Empowerment"? A Case Study of Literacy behind Bars. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 24(4):357-372.

From the abstract:

"A Chicano prison inmate's progress in a year-long literacy tutorial course demonstrates ways in which writing can negotiate and reorganize race, class, gender, and power identities for both tutor and student, and legitimize the student's voice, native language, and discourse stance. Through dialogue, the student progresses from the passive-learner role to a presentation of self as knowledgeable expert; from denial of his prison group-membership, he progresses to a critical analysis of the power structure it represents."

Literacy Behind Bars: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey, from the IES National Center for Education Statistics might also help you:

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All the news stories I found addressing the Chapel Library Project have identified it as a Federal Prison regulation. State and federal facilities do not use the same rules and regulations generally: state prisons have a plethora of different book restrictions state-to-state (more on that below) but state prisons and federal prisons media restrictions do not appear to apply to one another.

Incidentally, the new policy was recently overturned in part -- though the New York Times reports that the Bureau of Prisons has "not abandoned the idea of creating such lists.", (Banerjee, N. "Prisons to restore purged religious books" New York Times 9/27/07.)

If the facility to which you are delivering ILLs houses Federal inmates, or this prison is on contract to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, federal prison rules are likely to be an issue for you. Another RadRef member found a 2003 report submitted to the Justice Department titled Governments' Management of Private Prisons, describing the use of private prisons by both state governments and the BOP. A quote from the report:

"The most usual result, regardless of who owns the facility, is the creation of one-to-one relationship between prison operator and the state prison system. That is, the state prison system is the contractor’s sole client at the facility; the only prisoners held in the facility are those under the jurisdiction of the client state agency."

Those who are interested in the basic difference between state and federal prisons -- specifically who is sent to which -- can find more information on this Federal Bureau of Prisons web page.

Related Question

QUESTION: Standardized Chapel Library Project

question / pregunta: 

Are the libraries of private, for-profit prisons subject to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Standardized Chapel Library Project policy? The librarian to whom I supply materials via ILL is claiming compliance with this policy as a reason to limit inmates' access to religious and scholarly material, but I think it's only enforceable within the federal prison system.

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