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Prisoners Getting a Visit from the Bookmobile

March 17, 2009 — The St. Thomas bookmobile is going to the Alva Swan Corrections Annex Wednesday morning for a two-hour visit.
Calling it "Beyond the Walls Thru a Bookmobile," the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, working with the Justice Department, Corrections Bureau and the Office of the Governor, is trying a pilot prison bookmobile program in hopes of reducing recidivism through education and rehabilitation.
"Over 2 million prisoners are housed in U.S. state prisons, federal prisons and detention centers," Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Tuesday in a Government House statement. "At some point, 95 percent of state prisoners will return to the community, thus, becoming part of approximately five million adult men and women probationers or parolees integrated into society. Similar to the national statistics, most of the individuals that commit crime in the territory will return into the community."
To make success more likely, it is important to provide educational avenues and resources for inmates as they prepare to return to society, according to the Government House statement. Using library resources to combat idleness and boredom can help defuse many potentially violent situations in prison, too. The national American Library Association has encouraged libraries nationwide to serve prison populations with "Behind the Walls @ Your Library" initiatives through its Office of Literacy and Outreach Services.
Inmates will receive library cards and an orientation of the bookmobile services, and they will be able to check out books. If successful, bookmobile service will continue to the prisons on both islands, DeJongh said.
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