Category Archives: News
Since the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases launched our broken criminal justice system into the national spotlight, many want to know what they can do to reform the system. The “End Mass Incarceration Task Force” at First Parish Church, Arlington Massachusetts has put together this 14 page booklet (pdf) that lists dozens of ways to get involved – mostly in Massachusetts, but there are plenty of options for our friends across the country. From writing to politicians to volunteering in prisons or helping prisoners through organizations like Prison Book Program, you will find a tangible way to make a difference!
12 year old Isaiah Goldsmith made an unusual choice for his Bar Mitzvah project – collecting books for the Prison Book Program. Isaiah asked his family and friends to bring book donations to his Bar Mitzvah celebration. They responded with a car-load of books which Isaiah and his mom, Jennifer delivered to Quincy recently.
Isaiah talked about his work with PBP and other organizations in his Bar Mitzvah speech. Here’s what he had to say:
Recently the United Kingdom banned the mailing of books to prisoners from the outside in an effort to cut down on the “perks and privileges” available to them. In a protest organized by English PEN and The Howard League for Penal Reform, British authors have sent the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, protest postcards with the name of the book they would most like to send to a prisoner – if they still could.
We thought we would contribute some of our own “favorite books” and what they mean — except these are prisoners’ favorite books. These are the results of a survey that asked prisoners about books and the role they play in their lives. Their responses show that books are far from a perk or a privilege.