An intrepid reader sent in this link: 10 US Prisons with Impressive Libraries.
A library trustee in Saskatoon who attended our CLA presentation sent this link along.
Novel approach: reading courses as an alternative to prison
In Texas, offenders are being sent on reading courses instead of prison. | The Guardian – July 21, 2010
One of our newest committee members, Marcus is about to become a penpal with an incarcerated individual through the Prisoner Correspondence Project - he told me that they are interested in stepping up their outreach efforts into prisons across Canada and wish to connect with people or organizations that do work on the inside of the prison system.
Some information about the project:
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a collectively-run initiative based out of Montreal, Quebec. It coordinates a direct-correspondence program for gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, bisexual and queer inmates in Canada and the United States, linking these inmates with people a part of these same communities outside of prison. In addition, it coordinates a resource library of information regarding harm reduction practice (safer sex, safer drug-use, clean needle care), HIV and HEPC prevention, homophobia, transphobia, coming out, etc. The project also aims to make prisoner justice and prisoner solidarity a priority within queer movements on the outside through events like film screenings, workshops, and panel discussions which touch on the broader issues relating to criminalization and incarceration of queers and transfolk.
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a working group of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia University and an affiliate group of the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy.
If any other committee members are interested in this initiative, contact Marcus or the Prison Correspondence Project for more information.
Howard Sapers released a report last week entitled Good Intentions, Disappointing Results. The report is critical of the government and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) saying that the federal government needs to take “urgent action” to improve support programs for native prisoners or face a potential crisis. “Today my message is clear — given the urgency of the situation, I call upon the service to do the right thing and immediately appoint a deputy commissioner for aboriginal corrections,” Sapers said in a statement.
Howard Sapers was appointed the federal Correctional Investigator in Feburary 2004. The primary function of the Office of the Correctional Investigator is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints. The Office as well, has a responsibility to review and make recommendations on the Correctional Service’s policies and procedures associated with the areas of individual complaints to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed.
Sapers has been a Board Member of the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd. since 2007.
You can read his full report here: http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/rpt/pdf/oth-aut/oth-aut20091113-eng.pdf
Crossposted at Blogosarus Lex.
The men’s healing centre in Wetaskiwin (Pe Sakastew) needs the following types of books:
A current set of encyclopedias, and dictionaries.
The complete “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins.
The complete series by James Herriot.
How to books on Leatherwork; leather carving; wood work; making of native crafts; learn to play the guitar, drums (the drum sets), etc.
Books on health, nutrition, how the body works, nutritious meal planning and recipes (using basic inexpensive food).
How to budget, handle money, handle stress, safe workouts (gym, etc.), be a good parent.
Books by Wilbur Smith, Zig Ziglar, Chuck Swindoll, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Robert Ludlum.
If you have any of these books to donate – please let us know!
Kim Rempel from William Head Institution Library is trying to distribute a library survey to federal prison libraries. (He hasn’t had much luck with Edmonton Prison for Women – he was told that inmates are running the library.) Since I am the only member of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) Prison Special Interest Group (along with Kim), he’s asked if I could either do the survey or get someone to do it. The results are going to be presented at the Libraries in Canadian Prisons session at the CALL annual conference this May in Halifax. I will also be there.
Anyhow, here is the letter from Kim and the survey. Tanya, Laura and I are going to the prison tomorrow so we could fill out the survey ourselves with Cathee (the new prison librarian) unless someone else would like to do it.
Some good resources at: http://www.vcn.bc.ca/august10/index.html.
I know Tabitha was going to talk to Naomi McIlwraith (who has done writing workshops @ EIFW) to talk about what Naomi’s done, and what others could do. I just found this resource, which is a John Howard publication — it might be a cool thing for writing workshop, or for book club? http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/prison/teachers.pdf
I was just listening to an interview on CBC with Wally Lamb – and I didn’t realize the work he’s been doing (for the past 9 years) with women at the York Correctional Institute in Connecticut. The women from his prison writing workshop wrote a couple of books (which the institute tried to prevent from being published) and one of the women was awarded a PEN literary award.
Some of you may already be aware of this (the story is from 2004) but here’s a link for those who are interested to read/watch more:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/07/60minutes/main616203.shtml
I’m sure many are aware of the Library Success Wiki. The section “Services for the Imprisoned” has some good information, though the content is mainly American.
As discussed at the last meeting, here are my findings on inmate readings/recordings.
A few examples of other projects:
UW-Madison Jail Library Group (this section is about their audio-recording program, Kids Connection, but the entire site is well organized and informative): http://slisweb.lis.wisc.edu/~jail/volunteer/kc.html
also, Kids Connection uses cassette tapes! http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/10353/31543468
Another American example, from Indiana, Although not linked directly to the LIS community, it involves educators: http://nationalserviceresources.org/practices/17774
Also, a couple of interesting articles (I have .pdfs of these for sharing):
- Todaro, J. Reaching Beyond Bars: Women’s Storybook Project of Texas. Texas Library Journal v. 83 no. 3 (Fall 2007) p. 128-9.
Although 5 years old, this is the only Canadian prison library survey I could find:
-Curry, A., et. al., Canadian federal prison libraries: a national survey. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science (Folkestone, England) v. 35 no. 3 (September 2003) p. 141-52.
F.Y.I Page 14 of the IFLA Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners, 3rd edition includes content on services and programs – overall an interesting document.
Human Rights in Action: Handbook for Women Serving Federal Sentences
This booklet explains the rights women have while in prison and while out on conditional release, and discusses some of the ways women prisoners can exercise their rights and avoid having them restricted further. Another purpose of the booklet is to aid in the training of prisoner advocates inside and outside prison.
Authors of this booklet are the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) , the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) , and Strength in Sisterhood (SIS).
Read more about the booklet and download it for yourself from: http://www.cleonet.ca/resources/1732
This looks like an excellent resource both for our group and the EIFW women. We should try to either get a print copy from EFry or print off a couple of copies for the EIFW library. Maybe Tabitha could look into getting a copy for the library? And Liz FL, could you add this to the bibliography you have been compiling?
If anyone is interested, here is the information about prison-l, the ala’s listserv about providing library services in prisons.