News & Brews: Books in Prisons, Why So Complicated?

Illinois Newsroom, Illinois Public Media, Jane Addams Bookstore and Riggs Beer Company invite you for a discussion driven by data, research, and stories around the impact of Books in Prisons. The date is Tuesday, July 24, 6:00 – 7:30 pm. at the Riggs Beer Company, 1901 S High Cross Rd, Urbana.

This April, education reporter Lee Gaines uncovered data from the Illinois Department of Corrections that showed funding for prison libraries had dropped from over $750,000 in 2002 to $276 dollars in 2017.

With research showing that reading reduces the risk of repeat incarceration (also known as recidivism), this significant decrease in funding deserves a closer look, especially because “total expenses related to reincarceration in Illinois over the 5 year period through 2020 are expected to top $16.7 billion.”

For the first 30-45 minutes you’ll hear stories from formerly incarcerated community members and from nonprofit leaders working to solve this funding problem. Then we’ll work as a community to ask and answer questions and discuss possible solutions.

We’ll be taking donations for Books to Prisoners at this event. Please bring any paperback books in good condition (both front and back covers intact) for donation. (Extra plus if these are books that have transformed your own life.)

RSVP is not necessary, BUT it will enter you into a raffle for News & Brews swag and a special selection of books. (Copies of these books will also be donated to Books to Prisoners.) RSVP here:

Read the reporting that inspired this event here: