|Weekly News Digest
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'Libraries Are Key Tools for People Getting Out of Prison, Even During a Pandemic' by Sally Herships
Sally Herships writes the following for Georgia Public Broadcasting:
Though Lee Horton was a model prisoner, he says that when he got out [after 28 years] he had trouble navigating daily life. He didn't know how to send a text. Imagine trying to write a resume or to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine. …
Before the pandemic, odds are he would have walked into a library to get it. … In prison, libraries are known as safe welcoming places. Peggy Cadigan, with New Jersey Public Libraries, says that in normal, pre-pandemic times the formerly incarcerated stream into libraries when they get out. …
A New Jersey Public Libraries program called Fresh Start provides help to the formerly incarcerated. Everything from training in how to make a FaceTime call to compiling resources for job fairs and food banks.
COVID-19 is causing prisons to send people home early. Last year, between March and just a few months later, more than 100,000 people returned home from prison. That's 3 1/2 times more than the year before.
At the same time, many libraries have had to sharply limit and close their physical locations. And that means those who help with prison reentry are having to get creative.
For more information, read the article.
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