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Prison Literature And The People Who Supply It

By Michael Obrien
There has been much said about prison literature over the years. There are also many people who are both proponents and opponents to it. It can sometimes be surprising to others that no matter what a person has done or who they are that another person would be objected to them reading or trying to better themselves.

People who commit crimes deserve to be punished. People who commit truly vicious crimes deserve to be put in jail and kept away from the rest of society, sure. The problem is that sadly our justice system is not the most perfect system in the world and occasionally people who do not deserve it get sent to prison. When this happens it can sometimes take an army to get them released.

One of the most controversial subjects that is up for debate is the reading of legal material. There are some, mainly the victims or relatives of victims of some of the inmates that feel they should not be allowed to read up or research and learn about the laws that they broke. The main reason for this is because they feel they will try and use it to their advantage.

While it is usually extremely unlikely, there is concern that some of the more intelligent inmates might use these law books to gin the upper hand on the legal system and try to find a loop hole of sorts to get themselves a shorter term. Or worse yet, get themselves out of jail entirely. This being the case some people are against them reading such books.

Of course the other side of the argument fights for the civil rights of inmates. These people claim that no matter what, they are paying for their crime and they should have the right to read whatever is given to them. In such cases law books are found to be appropriate because everybody should have the chance to know why they are incarcerated according to the law.

So the books that the library is filled with come from donations for the most part and they claim that they cannot turn down the donations because that would be foolish. If law books are donated they should be kept in the library and the inmates should be allowed to check them out and read them.

When murderer on death row is allowed to read legal books that detail court cases, there is a certain feeling amongst some people that they can use that information to delay their punishment. The truth is that nothing can delay such a punishment when they are just waiting to die and no amount of reading can help.

Another problem with prison literature is that when they get donations there is no way to ask for specific materials. They are just happy to get what they get. Most times they are in need of text books for the school programs or books to help inmates learn to read. It is also hard because more people feel they do not deserve this then there are who want to help.

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