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Residents of Connecticut will not soon forget the brutal home invasion murders that took place in Cheshire in 2007. Now the state has learned that the convicted murderer, Steven Hayes, read books in prison depicting violent murders and the burning of victims.
From the ABC-TV affiliate: The new rules for Connecticut's prison libraries will be in place around July 1. Leo Arnone told the legislature's Judiciary Committee on Monday that committees in each prison will come up with policies for approving books. The Department of Correction receives most of its books from donations.
State Sen. John Kissel proposed a bill requiring DOC to review the federal rules. "I think most people's common sense view on this issue is that violent inmates should not have access to books that graphically depict violence against people, especially women," said State Sen. John Kissel.
Kissel said most of the book Hayes read had graphic details about strangulation, rape and murder. Many of the books were donated and the prison systems needs to review the books and decide which may not be suitable. The reading list includes David Baldacci's "Split Second, Greg Iles'"Mortal Fear" and "First To Die" by James Patterson.
David McGuirea with the ACLU believes this is censorship and is skeptical about who decides what books are OK and which aren’t. -- Read More
GAINESVILLE, FL: The Alachua County Public Library branch operated at the county jail has been selected to receive a Great Stories Club grant from the American Library Association.
As a result of the grant, the county jail will receive free books that are geared toward the young adult inmate population. Major funding for the Great Stories Club has been provided by Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network.
The jail library, an actual branch of the Alachua County Library District, has more than 5,000 books and is very popular among the inmate population.
Earlier this month, two juvenile inmates who had conducted their research at the jail library, were recognized by the Gainesville Chapter of the Links Incorporated, for essays they had submitted for a community-wide essay contest.
Oprah, show us some of that library love too! OPRAH, LIBRARIES NEED YOU!
A few days ago, we ran a story on how important the work of a prison librarian can be. Unfortunately, there's also a down-side to being a prison librarian:
ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — A 36-year-old Maine prison inmate is going to serve 40 additional years for kidnapping and assaulting a prison librarian and another inmate.
A judge told Michael Chasse Tuesday his actions were "unspeakably cruel" when he stabbed the librarian and the other inmate while he held them hostage for about seven hours on June 30, 2008 at the Maine State Prison in Warren. The hostages were not seriously hurt.
Chasse was convicted in August. Chasse was originally in prison for breaking into the home of the brother of former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen. Chasse argued he should be sentenced to about 15 years.
The Bangor Daily News says Chasse's latest sentence will not begin until his current sentence has been completed. His release is scheduled for 2070.
Article in the Boston Globe by Avi Steinberg who made a name for himself as a prison librarian.
People tend to see a prison as a monolithic institution, a place solely dedicated to locking criminals up. But many inmates experience prison in a more dynamic way, as a clash between institutions. And what I experienced every day was that, in the collision between the institution of prison and the institution-within-the-institution, the library, something constructive and potentially long-lasting was being formed.
Prison libraries aren’t miracle factories. The day-to-day was often far from inspiring. Glossy magazines and mindless movies were, for many, the main attraction. Pimp memoirs were among the most frequently requested books. And yet, even an inmate motivated by nothing more than a desire to watch “The Incredible Hulk” in the back room of the library was much more likely to come across something educational — a book, a program, a mentor — once he entered the library space. Just as important, this inmate was becoming a loyal patron of the library, something he could carry with him to the outside world, and perhaps pass on to his children. -- Read More
Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)
A week or so ago, I posted information about a new book coming out, a first-hand account of a prison librarian entitled "Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian".
Last week's NY TImes Magazine has a piece by the author, Avi Steinberg, which you might enjoy here. Here's a portion:
You know you’re not doing well when a prisoner regards you with pity. When a man in an oversize prison uniform — a man who could narrate the gruesome entirety of his life through the scars on his body — gives you the once-over and says: “You O.K., pal? You don’t look too good,” you know you’re in trouble.
Prison was doing me in. Although I’d taken the job as a librarian in a Boston prison largely for health insurance, I hadn’t actually needed medical care until I did. After a year and half in the joint, I was subsisting by the grace of a dream team of health care professionals: allergists, infectious-disease specialists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, orthopedists, off-duty nurses, chiropractors, Internet quacks, back doctors, front doctors, head doctors. I’d even consulted an OB-GYN.
Following up on yesterday's LISNews story that found inmates had unrestricted access to works depicting graphic violence in CT prison libraries, the state Department of Correction is revising its library policy in the wake of an Associated Press investigation.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said he met with Correction Commissioner Leo Arnone for an hour Friday after learning that books such as Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," a literary classic about a 1959 killing in Kansas, were among the department's library holdings.
Update from MSNBC.
Connecticut Prison Inmates Reading True Crime And Other Violent Books
Inmates in Connecticut prisons have access to true crime books and works of fiction that depict murder and graphic violence, with no apparent restrictions based on a reader's criminal history, according to a review of the prison library system by The Associated Press.