Free Write

Prison is an environment that can either help us grow intellectually or fall farther away from learning. Prisoners therefore have a choice, read and learn, maintain a former way of thinking, or digress farther away from learning.

Prisoners who desire to learn can find various sources, television, newspapers, dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, or textbooks. Some of these are readily available, and some not so much. This is why organizations that provide materials are in such high demand. I know of inmates who came in with a 4th grade level of intelligence and now can quote parts of the constitution, or handle legal work or write books and are published. They had to obtain knowledge from somewhere: Books!

When you send dictionaries and other reference books inmates use them to look up information that is given to them. They listen to the news and look up words they either don’t understand, or think are being used incorrectly. Either way I have seen some pretty used and worn dictionaries.

The book that has had the greatest impact on my life was a book entitled, “Webster’s Dictionary.” I know that sounds weird, but it has had such an impact on me. I use it multiple times a day and learn much by it.

Written by Matthew L
Located in USP Marion, Kansas

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