Like many states, Oklahoma prisons offer very few programs for inmates to better themselves and prepare to return to society. And that was before the budget cuts. There’s no point in cutting the programs budget. There are so few programs and they are offered so infrequently that they’re practically nonexistent.
My assigned prison job is to tutor inmates who want to obtain their General Educational Development (GED) certifications. I love helping people discover and learn new things; however, being a tutor at Mid-State Prison is not an easy job. I have very few materials to help my students learn.
The GED books provided by the prison’s education department are a decade old. The GED test was modified a few years ago. I have no materials to help students with the new test. Moreover, some of my students cannot read well enough to understand the outdated books and I have no material to help them improved their reading skills. It’s sort of a Catch-22.
Books are important for prisoners not only for entertainment and relaxation, but also to help hone their reading skills. I don’t particularly care what types of books my students read — as long as they’re reading something. They are willing to put forth the effort if I can find books for them.
There’s a saying you may have heard: There is no difference between the person who can’t read and the one who doesn’t read even though he can. Unfortunately, that now includes those who can’t get anything to read.
Financial donations are the single factor that limits the number of people we can serve. Just $3 is the average cost of mailing a package of carefully selected books from our library!
Prison Book Program
c/o Lucy Parsons Bookstore
1306 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02169