Canada: Library Time and Book Access Limited for Federal Prisoners, Advocates Say
From the CBC:
A number of advocates say they fear federal inmates are losing access to books and libraries, making it harder to improve their literacy skills and prepare them for reintegration into Canadian society after they’re released.
Those advocates say a number of federal prisons are cutting library hours and library staff or closing the facilities entirely.
“Access to books is really important, and what we’re seeing is an erosion in access to books,” Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers told CBC News.
Prisons across Canada are cutting back access, in part a result of security concerns because of overcrowding. It’s harder to move inmates safely from one part of the institution to another if there are too many inmates for the number of guards, Sapers said.
Budget cuts are also affecting access to library materials.
Last year, the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Sask., didn’t extend a contract with the region’s library service, shutting down access for inmates. The library was open five days per week in the afternoons and evenings and inmates would borrow, on average, about 50 items per day. The program cost about $70,000 a year.
Several other institutions in Ontario and Quebec have seen library access restricted or cut entirely.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.