* From May…
When she found out that staff at the Danville Correctional Center had removed more than 200 books from a library inside the prison’s education wing, Rebecca Ginsburg said she felt a pit in her stomach.
“I felt sick,” she said. Ginsburg directs the Education Justice Project, a college in prison program that offers University of Illinois classes to men incarcerated at the Danville prison in east-central Illinois. In late January, prison staff removed dozens of titles from two rooms that serve as the program’s library.
Those titles include books like “Visiting Day,” a children’s book about visiting a parent in prison by author, Jacqueline Woodson. Also included among the removed books are two titles written by African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., a book by philosopher Cornel West, “Up From Slavery” by Booker T. Washington, and “Mapping Your Future: A Guide to Successful Reentry 2017-2018” written by the college in prison program’s reentry team.
A majority of the books removed from the program’s library are about race.
* Corrections has since revamped its policies…
IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys said the intention of the new policy is to prevent any arbitrary acts of censorship from playing out at state prisons. He said the change will take effect Oct. 1. Details of the new policy will be made public at that time. […]
[Director Jeffreys] said the new policy will require that censorship decisions made at the prison level be reviewed by staff at the prison system’s central office.
“That way we will have another set of eyes looking at anything that’s been denied,” Jeffreys said. He said the new policy will also include an appeals process.
“In addition, I’ve also asked for the National Institute of Corrections to come in and review our new policy to make sure our publication review process is meeting the national standard — and also looking at all our library programs to make sure we are providing the best type of quality programming for our offenders as well,” Jeffreys said.