DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — More than 200 books have been taken away from area prisoners. They were kept at the University of Illinois Library at the Danville Correctional Center.
It’s important to note these books were already approved to be in the library, according to Education Justice Project (EJP) leaders. Almost all the books were about race. There were also some about dealing with a family member who’s in prison, as well as some about gender and sexuality.
Project leaders say they have not heard a formal explanation from the center. They’ve been told some different reasons, but said none of those were convincing.
“It’s worrying to us insofar as we want to develop a program at Danville Correctional Center. We would like to have a degree program there, and because we want to see other programs across the state of Illinois grow and expand in Illinois state prisons, and the message this sends is, ‘No, don’t bother,'” said Education Justice Project Director Rebecca Ginsburg.
Many of the prisoners work at the library. Ginsburg says those prisoners were very upset when they saw that the books were gone. She feels that the books are an important part of the prisoners lives and their education.
Below is a full statement from the Illinois Department of Corrections:
Education is a critical component of rehabilitation for those who are incarcerated and the Illinois Department of Corrections values our partnership with the University of Illinois and the Education Justice Project. Per Illinois Department of Corrections policy, all publications must be reviewed for admittance into Department facilities. When it was discovered that books had entered Danville Correctional Center without being appropriately reviewed, they were removed from the facility. We aim to review the books and return them to the facility and while we have not yet received them back from the Education Justice Project, we remain hopeful this will occur.”