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Non-profit sending books to inmates working to change DOC rules

Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 13:35:19-04

Local non-profit Read Between the Bars was created to send books to inmates to better their lives while locked up. They're participating in this year's Arizona Gives Day, and now they need more help than ever.

In years past, Read Between the Bars sent inmates books on everything from writing to sci-fi, but now, inmates cannot get specific requests unless it's from a book publisher.

Inmates could request up to three books every six months from Read Between the Bars, but the Arizona Department of Corrections changed its policy, so now inmates cannot get direct deliveries from the non-profit.

The prisons say they do not have time to handle all the packages and have asked Read Between the Bars to send the packages to the main prison library, but inmates say this policy doesn't guarantee they'll ever see the book.

The Arizona Department of Corrections sent KGUN9 saying in part:

Read Between The Bars is still able and authorized, as are all similarly situated non-publisher individuals and entities, to continue their shared mission of donating new or used books to inmates via general donations to the prison complexes. An inmate still may contact Read Between The Bars, request a specific book, and obtain it from the library upon your donation. This policy enables non-publisher individuals and entities to ultimately reach far more inmates in need through general donations that enrich the prison libraries, which are readily accessible to many more inmates, rather than a solitary donation to merely one individual inmate.

The Department of Corrections also said the practice of sending individual book deliveries was never technically allowed.

The non-profit is still able to send books to inmates in the federal facilities, and they are still accepting book donations. One donation center is at the UA Poetry Center at 1508 East Helen Street.