During my incarceration, I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a television from the prison commissary. It provided me with entertainment when I wasn’t at work or in the recreational yard, allowing me to indulge in my favorite shows, movies, or sports games.
Unfortunately, not all inmates have the luxury of owning a television, which forces them to find alternative ways to pass the time. The degree of an inmate’s security level and the facility they’re in play a significant role in determining what activities they can partake in.
So, what do inmates do to occupy their days, weeks, and even years? Reading is one possibility, but people often inquire whether reading is permitted in prison.
This blog post will cover:
- Can you read books in prison?
- Can you read newspapers in prison?
Can you read books in prison?
While every prison is unique, one commonality that is shared among them is access to books. In nearly every state and federal prison, inmates have access to a library where they can check out different types of reading material. Reading is not only encouraged in prison, but it is also required by most state statutes. Inmates are even given access to law libraries to research various legal issues such as appeals.
However, officials tend to avoid hardcover books in prison as they can be used as weapons. Moreover, there are limitations on content, and stories about rape or books with pictures of guns are prohibited. Children’s books are also scarce, except for the kids’ area in the visiting room.
The libraries in prison provide both fiction and non-fiction books that cover a range of different topics. They have everything from classic literature to contemporary fiction, self-help books, and materials to help prisoners working towards their GED or attending vocational and college classes.
Some of the most popular books that had waiting lists included Stephen King novels, Harry Potter books, the Janet Evanovich book series, and Gillian Flynn novels. While incarcerated, it was better to have a loved one send you Gone Girl than trying to get your hands on the library copy.
Interestingly, while books are quite accessible in prison, that is not the case for county jails. It can be extremely challenging to find reading material in county jails, making it essential to have books sent to inmates from their loved ones.
Prison inmates who are on death row or in supermax facilities may not be allowed to go to the library. However, a selection of books to choose from is usually delivered to those inmates in their cells.
At most prisons, inmates are allowed to have family and friends send them books, but they have to come directly from vendors like Amazon to prevent attempts of sending contraband. It’s possible to send illegal drugs in the pages of books and in greeting cards, which is something I learned in prison. As a result, prisons are switching to e-books to curb the problem, but they have their own set of issues, such as price and available content.
In addition to being a source of entertainment, reading has many other benefits for prisoners. It can help them develop critical thinking and analytical skills, improve their writing, and broaden their knowledge and perspective of the world outside of prison. Moreover, reading can also provide a healthy escape from the often-challenging and dangerous prison environment.
reading is a vital aspect of life in prison. It provides inmates with an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve themselves in many ways. However, there are also challenges, such as limitations on content, accessibility, and the risk of contraband. Despite these challenges, reading remains an essential part of life for prisoners and can have a positive impact on their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Can you read newspapers in prison?
Reading material is an essential part of life for inmates in most prisons, whether state or federal. While the rules and regulations may differ slightly from facility to facility, almost all prisons offer access to a library that provides a range of reading material. Inmates are encouraged to read and often spend hours immersed in books, magazines, and newspapers.
The library in most prisons provides both fiction and non-fiction books on a variety of topics. Classic literature and contemporary fiction are both available, as are self-help books and materials to help inmates studying for their GED or attending vocational and college classes. However, some limits do exist, particularly when it comes to the content of the books. For example, officials tend to avoid hardcover books in prison because they can be used as weapons. Additionally, books containing explicit or violent content, including stories about rape and books with pictures of guns, are generally prohibited.
Some of the most popular books among inmates are Stephen King novels, Harry Potter books, the Janet Evanovich book series, and Gillian Flynn novels. However, due to high demand, these books often have long waiting lists. For instance, when Gone Girl was released, it was almost impossible to get a copy from the library. In some cases, inmates’ families and friends can send them books, but they must come directly from vendors like Amazon to prevent the introduction of contraband into the prison. Unfortunately, some inmates can be mean and find it funny to tear out the final pages of a book, which can be frustrating for other readers.
In addition to books, newspapers and magazines are also available in most prison libraries. National publications such as USA Today can be found, as well as local newspapers from different counties throughout the state. However, there may be limits on the types of publications allowed, with some magazines containing sexual content being prohibited. Subscriptions to local newspapers and magazines can be purchased by inmates’ loved ones, allowing them to stay up-to-date with what is happening in their hometown.
For prisoners, access to reading material can be a lifeline, providing a means of escape and entertainment during their incarceration. It is also an important tool for self-improvement and education, with many inmates using the library to further their studies or learn new skills. However, access to reading material can vary between different types of correctional facilities, with county jails often having very limited options available.
In conclusion, the answer to the question, “Can you read in prison?” is a resounding “Yes!” Inmates in most prisons have access to a wide range of reading material, from books to newspapers to magazines. While there may be limits on what is allowed, reading material can be a valuable source of entertainment, education, and connection to the outside world for inmates.
If you were locked up, would you take the opportunity to catch up on some reading? Let us know in the comments below.