prison libraries

I’ve been on ‘snow holiday’ all week, snowed in kind of trapped in my house. Gives you a lot of time to read the internet.

Two articles on prison libraries, awfully important institutions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/us/09bar.html

A Mediocre Criminal, but an Unmatched Jailhouse Lawyer

…Mr. Hopwood spent much of that time in the prison law library, and it turned out he was better at understanding the law than breaking it. He transformed himself into something rare at the top levels of the American bar, and unheard of behind bars: an accomplished Supreme Court practitioner….

And another on Maryland prison libraries, some of the best prison libraries in the country, the program has recently had it’s funding horribly cut.  Glennor Shirley is amazing.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.rodricks0207,0,294561.column

For prisoners, the library as lifeline

…Was she scared to be among men who had murdered and raped?

“No. They behaved more respectfully than many of the persons I encountered in public libraries. They were also grateful for the reading materials and for any questions that I answered.

“In a way, the library was their lifeline. They escaped through reading, and the knowledge they gained became a sort of power base.”…

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