Rantz: Seattle activists fought for rapists, murderers to get access to erotica, horror books
Congrats, Seattle activists! You fought the good fight and now, as a result of your activism, rapists and murderers once again have access to erotica, dictionaries, and the latest John Grisham novel of their choosing.
The Department of Corrections quietly changed a policy that stopped accepting donated books from third parties, such as non-profit organizations. Washington prisoners would still get books through the state library, but activists got upset that a local group, Books to Prisoners, were cut off.
Originally, the DOC said there were security concerns due to contraband making its way into the prison, but have since reversed that claim.
“We couldn’t figure out what was going on because we’ve been sending for over 45 years,” said Michelle Dillon, a volunteer and board member with Books to Prisoners, to KING 5.
Seattle-based Books to Prisoners donates books to prisoners, based on requests. According to their website, the most request genres of books:
- Paperback genre fiction (particularly westerns, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy)
- Legal self-help
- Black history/Black studies
- Books in Spanish (especially Spanish-language fiction)
- Drawing/art instruction
- Games and crafts (including crossword puzzles, Sudoku, knitting, crochet, and RPG books like “Dungeons & Dragons”)
- Vocational instruction (e.g., welding, plumbing, carpentry)
- GED preparation books
- True crime
- Prisoner rights/prisoner organizing
- LGBTQ books – particularly affirming books about being trans/genderqueer
- Books on the occult/witchcraft/astrology/metaphysics
- Urban fiction
- Blank journals (with no spiral bindings)
- Graphic novels & comic books (that do not contain violent content)
Definitely sounds healthy to give “true crime” and “erotica” to inmates, doesn’t it?
Be sure to offer updated books, because “prisoners love up-to-date materials as much as everyone else!” Well, we wouldn’t want to upset a child molester by giving him an old book he probably already read! If you’d like to help connect a murderer with a free book, you can do so here.
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