January 23, 2022

Washington State: Corrections Officials Reverse Ban, Will Allow Prisoners to Get Used Books in the Mail

From The Seattle Times:

The ban on used books entering Washington prisons via nonprofit groups has been lifted.

After an outcry by a Seattle nonprofit and questions from state lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee, corrections officials Wednesday reversed their recent ban against organizations mailing books to prisoners.

The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) last month quietly posted that policy, citing fears of contraband in prisons. Defending their decision last week, the agency cited 17 instances of contraband involving books last year.

But information requested from the agency last week by The Seattle Times and reported Wednesday morning showed that a dozen of those instances actually had nothing to do with books.


The ban would have left used publications to come in through the state library system. Overseen by the Secretary of State’s Office, that program stocks prison libraries – but did not have extra funding or a plan fill to the void.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

See Also: Washington Prisoners May No Longer Be Able to Receive Donated Books (April 1, 2019; via The Stranger)

UPDATE: WA Reverses Prison Book Ban After Failed Defense (via CBLDF)

UPDATE: (April 15): Washington Partially Rescinds Prison Book Ban (via Publishers Weekly)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.