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Thread: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    A very interesting HuffPost Panel Discussion with former inmates. Please share your thoughts about this program!

    HuffPost Live
    Huggz, Brian

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    Absolutely fab. I love seeing a way for people to come together, connect and expand their minds in what are otherwise terrible times for many. Books are powerful things and they can really help you find new perspectives and inspiration to change your life in a beautiful way. It's very nice to hear from people who are actually involved - hopefully this will encourage the allowance and support of these clubs in other places, because all of these people are living proof that it makes a huge difference.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    I really hope this program will be expanded to a lot of prisons not only in the US but also in the world. As Eulalie said, books can be very powerful and I do know from my own experience that some books can really change your way of thinking and can really have a strong impression on you.
    I am doing an internship in a Belgian prison and since I want to work in prison after I graduate, I would love to come up with a program like this.
    Reading and then meeting and talking about the same book give some inmate a meaning, a reason to wake up and to hold on. A lot of inmate needs a purpose in their day or week. Plus, even if they don't say anything, it's an opportunity to create a social bond which can be weakened or lose inside the walls of a prison.

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    Default Re: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    I think that this can only be a good thing. Not only is the ability to 'lose' oneself in a book, a truly worthwhile experience, but as one of the contributors to that discussion mentioned, you can also help 'find' both yourself and your purpose in a book too. The benefits of a group definitely help to open up a wealth of different perspectives and experiences to those inside, with the potential for helping individuals discover new interests and passions that they can pursue throughout their lives. An actual 'group' can provide the opportunities to discuss differing interpretations, encouraging critical thinking and developing empathy. There is also the chance of a renewed interest in pursuing other areas of learning too, which can be spurred on through the directions book reading can take someone off in.

    But if a facility doesn't have the resources available to create an actual group, pen-pals can also encourage the reading and understanding of literature by trying to arrange it so that both the inmate and the person on the outside read the same book at the same time, before discussing it through letters both during and afterwards. If your pen-pal is interested, it's worth suggesting it to them, to give you both something else to talk about, but also to give them something to focus on in their free time.

    Thanks for the link Bri! xx

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    Quote Originally Posted by Lolita_LaVey View Post

    ...if a facility doesn't have the resources available to create an actual group, pen-pals can also encourage the reading and understanding of literature by trying to arrange it so that both the inmate and the person on the outside read the same book at the same time, before discussing it through letters both during and afterwards. If your pen-pal is interested, it's worth suggesting it to them, to give you both something else to talk about, but also to give them something to focus on in their free time.
    Actually I am hoping to find a PP who wants to discuss non-fiction or (serious) fiction with me.... eventually, when we're both comfortable with each other. I think novels and esp. well-written short stories, can provide an escape from prison life, while encouraging critical thinking and decision-making. I've made it a point to write prisoners who want to/are continuing their education behind bars and/or who say they read a lot. So far, my one guy, said that while he was grateful for having SOMETHING to read in prison, all they really had was fantasy/science fiction, and he was getting tired to that genre.

    So to 'test the waters' I sent him xerox of a Jack London story "Told in the Drooling Ward" (one young man's experience living in a home for the mentally disabled c. early 1900s). I haven't heard back yet to see IF he got the story, to begin with, though it was attached to a letter, and what he thought of it.

    I thought it might be easier to talk about a '3rd-party' subject. That is, I've mentioned to all my PP that I don't want to invade their privacy by asking a lot of questions (questions they may be tired of answering with someone they don't know)... even though I say I am very interested in their daily life. At the same time, while I don't mind answering questions about MY life (within reason), I didn't want to just talk about ME and my life OUTSIDE, which could come across as self-centered and/or be depressing perhaps for the inmate thinking about what he may be missing? So I've thought that conversation about an article I send him, or a story (or eventually a book I could send him that would interest him in some human interest, educational, or job-related area) might play a good role in our letters. I'd be learning as much as he would be learning. In addition to talking about each of our lives, sending jokes, looking at possible things to do in preparation of hopefully getting parole, etc. etc. in our weekly correspondence.
    Huggz, Brian

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    Default Re: How Prison Book Clubs Can Reduce Crime

    Quote Originally Posted by njsquarebear View Post
    Actually I am hoping to find a PP who wants to discuss non-fiction or (serious) fiction with me....
    I'd be interested to know how this went, if it worked at all. I'm also looking for someone interested in intelligent discussions, especially about history, philosophy and literature. Some might say that inmates are not the right people, after all, if they were intelligent... hut I'm sure they are there and I've found a few good prospects.
    Epistula enim non erubescit - Marcus Tullius Cicero.

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