Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Prison Returned the Books I sent to An Inmate

I often get calls from members of the public inquiring why a prison returned books or magazines they sent  to prisoners.

Prison administration  are comfortable when inmates engage in positive activities like reading.  However,security is paramount.  Inmate's outside contacts  have  used books and magazines to conceal contraband in some very innovative ways.  So, as they say: "The good suffers for the bad". In prisons, inmates may get printed materials directly from publishers, but not directly  from members of the public.

When donations come to me at HQ or to  the librarians in the prisons, materials are examined or scanned for  potential problems. For example, an alert librarian in flipping through a magazine, noticed that the cover had been removed and substituted for one of the titles that the library receives.  The content under the substituted title was filled with  gang related information.  Another librarian found a hardback book  had concealed drugs.

 As prison  librarians, many of us constantly  battle with  the philosophy in our belief of prisoners  right to read, and our responsibility to security concerns in the prisons.

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