US Prisons’ Access To Educational Books

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Yorbing Staff Wednesday June 5, 2019

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WNYC The Takeaway By Tanzina Vega, “Educational Material For Inmates”, June 5, 2019

There are more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States, and for many of them, access to books and other learning materials is not guaranteed and can even be purposely denied.

One Illinois prison recently removed more than 200 of its books, many about race, from its library.

An organization called the Education Justice Project (EJP) provides college-level courses to inmates at the Danville Correctional Center in Central Illinois. As part of their program, the EJP had built up a library of over 4,000 books in the Danville prison. Each of those books went through a review process to get there.

The program had been running smoothly until last fall, when a number of books were unexpectedly rejected by the Illinois Department of Corrections. Then, early this year, the EJP hit another snag, when the Danville Prison suspended the program and took 202 books out of its library.

To learn more about this story, The Takeaway spoke with Lee Gaines, andeducation reporter at Illinois Public Media and Heather Ann Thompson, a historian at the University of Michigan and author of “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy.”

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