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Washington DOC to alter policy and allow used books for prisoners


The decision by the Washington State Department of Corrections to block prisoners from receiving used books sparked an outcry recently, and now it appears the decision is being amended.

State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Stephen Sinclair announced on Friday that it will ensure prisoners are still able to receive used books, reports The Seattle Times.

RELATED: Washington DOC quietly bans prisoners from receiving used books

The original memo blocked used books through the mail over the potential of contraband coming in. Prisons do have libraries run by the state, and the policy does allow books sent by both the Washington State Library, but they have limited resources and access issues, which would have left a void for offenders.

Seattle nonprofit Books to Prisoners has been sending used books to correctional facilities for decades to help with those issues. When staffers noticed that numerous books were mysteriously bouncing back to them, they became aware of the new policy.

RELATED: King County Library lost a cutthroat book sorting competition to New York

Sinclair says they will be working with Books To Prisoners to adjust the policy.

“We are going to ensure that we have processes in place that allow people” to get used books, Sinclair said in an interview. “They won’t all go through the Washington State Library, as they don’t have the resources.”

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