The Washington State Department of Corrections quietly issued a complete ban on prison book donations last month.
“So quietly, in fact, that they didn’t bother to tell us first. We only know now because we found this memo on their website today. We’re ready to fight it…” Books to Prisoners, the Seattle-based nonprofit that has been providing free books to the state’s incarcerated population since 1973, tweeted earlier last week.
The ban limits the books that can be given to prisons to those previously approved by the Prisons Division, used books from the Monroe City Library, and those purchased by inmates for pre-approved and accredited correspondence courses. No donations from nonprofits like Books to Prisons will be accepted, per the DOC’s March 12 memo.
This ban severely limits access to literature for incarcerated individuals, as Books to Prisoners points out, especially for prisons outside the circulation area of Monroe Library.
“An excessive restriction on reading materials infantilizes incarcerated adults and contributes to an environment of distrust between inmates and correctional officers that hampers rehabilitative goals. The costs outweigh the benefits.”
–Books to Prisoners
These stories on Book Riot and The Stranger have more information.
What We Can Do
Contact Prisons Division Correctional Manager Roy Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 360-725-8839.
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