CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Alexi Giannoulias announced on Thursday that $420,000 in grant money will be going to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to support prison libraries.
According to Giannoulias, 28 prison libraries in Illinois will receive $15,000 to purchase reading materials, including books, magazines and newspapers, or other library supplies.
“Access to books, educational materials and informative technology offers individuals the opportunity to empower themselves by acquiring new skills and broadening their horizons,” Giannoulias said. “By giving themselves the opportunity to prepare for a better life, a changed life, outside of the prison system, we’re helping individuals break free from the cycle of recidivism.”
According to the release, Illinois correctional facilities’ collection budget has been shrinking over the last 20 years. It went from having $750,000 in the early 2000s, to having no specific state funding as of 2017.
“This much-needed funding will allow library staff to improve service to our population and promote access to information and resources that support literacy and education, resulting in more successful community reentry,” said Latoya Hughes of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The funds for these grants came from using federal Library Services and Technology Act funds.