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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Urbana-Champaign, IL Books to Prisoners Project

    There are ample statistics that show our prison system does a bad job of preventing crime. Recidivism rate is quite high in our system. By contrast, there is a strong correlation between education and reduced crime. (Employment is also correlated with reduced crime).

    With this correlation in mind, I want to present the Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners Project:

    UC Books to Prisoners is an Urbana IL based project providing books to Illinois inmates at no cost. We offer books by mail to all Illinois inmates and operate lending libraries in our two local county jails.

    We are an all volunteer organization with a number of easy ways for you to get involved. Whether you have an hour a month or would like to volunteer more often, you are invited to to work with us. We interact with inmates by reading their letters, selecting books from our collection of donated materials and shipping the books directly to the inmates.

    Our volunteers also staff lending libraries in the Champaign County jails. If you would prefer to work behind the scenes, we need help managing, soliciting and coordinating book donations as well as raising funds to pay for this work.

    The mission of Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners:

    * to provide books to inmates in Illinois by recycling donated books
    * to facilitate a quality volunteer experience
    * to offer a venue for inmates to tell their own stories
    * to educate ourselves and our community about prisons

    You can volunteer for this excellent project here.

    I also want to add that there are other ways to reform our prison system. The District Attorney in my area (Brooklyn, NY...one of the busiest District Attorney offices in the nation) has a series of very successful alternative sentencing programs that have much lower recidivism rates than traditional prison. I recommend that other communities adopt similar programs.

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