From 'Magic the Gathering' to computer coding manuals, these are the books banned in Wisconsin prisons. Hundreds of book titles are banned inside Wisconsin prisons, according to list obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio in response to a public records request. Story by By Sarah Lehr www.wpr.org March 2, 2023
John Peck, on the WNPJ Board, and Camy Matthay, active with the WNPJ member group, Wisconsin Books to Prisoners ,were interviewed for the story:
"Books, whether escapist or practical, are a lifeline to people behind bars, said John Peck, a volunteer with Wisconsin Books to Prisoners.
Jennifer Beil looks through the inventory of Wisconsin Books to Prisoners on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Madison, Wis. as volunteers work to fulfill requests from inmates in Wisconsin. Angela Major/WPR
"Access to books is sort of considered a privilege in the prisons," Peck said. "Reading is a human right. People should have access to education as a way to better themselves and learn about the world and improve their skills."
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners, a nonprofit affiliated with the Madison-based book store called A Room of One's Own, has sent more than 60,000 books to people behind bars since 2006. Those books are mailed in response to letters from incarcerated people who ask for specific titles or topics. "The most common requests include dictionaries and books on trade and job skills", said volunteer Camy Matthay.
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has received denial letters because the free books it sent were deemed to be prohibited, although Matthay said that happens rarely.
A box holds receipts for book requests from prisoners Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Madison, Wis. A nonprofit called Wisconsin Books to Prisoners maintains those records as part of its mission to send free books to incarcareated people. Angela Major/WPR
Learn more about WI Books to Prisoners here:
ps. Camy writes about the article: The author accepted my advice to include the DOC codes so readers could see for themselves what the constraints are regarding the receipt of mail and books.
But overall and comparatively the current administration has been very supportive and it clear by the increasing volume of letters that some prison librarians are advertising/championing our project......
AND as a result we need more books and are hoping to encourage more people to do book drives on our behalf.