For Inmates in Appalachian Prisons, These Books are A Lifeline

Washington Post blog reports on a program started by professor Katy Ryan at West Virginia University in 2004, the Appalachian Prison Book Project (thank you Mock Turtle).

Whatever the subject, volunteers with the Appalachian Prison Book Project believe they hold the power to unlock worlds.

From a small room in a historic house next to the Morgantown Public Library, they meticulously organize requests, exchanging letters to find just the right read and get permission from prison administrators while simultaneously scrambling to raise money for shipping.

The process takes months, and the restrictions are many: Spiral-bound books are banned, their spines seen as potential weapons. Hardcovers are discouraged. Some institutions refuse books altogether, often with no explanation.

“You would think it’s not that big a deal. We’re just sending out used books, free of charge, to people in prison,” says Dominique Bruno, a doctoral student at West Virginia University who serves as outreach coordinator. “But it is as hard to get something into a prison as it is to get out of one.”

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Appalachian Prison Book Project

Here's more information, directly from the Appalachian Prison Book Project site.

Post your comment below. Now fortified with cuddly kittens!

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote> <img> <b> <strike> <del> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Syndicate content