Though the United States makes up less than five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has more than 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
In response to the needs of these prisoners, the University of La Verne Republican Club is partnering with Claremont Forum’s Prison Library Project to get much-needed books to prisoners.
The ongoing book drive the club has organized is currently collecting donations for the Claremont Forum. The Republican Club has set up a collection site in the Wilson Library near the exit and will make weekly deliveries to the Forum bookstore in Claremont.
Claremont Forum’s Prison Library Project is a nonprofit community service. Its mission is “sending quality books to inmates nationwide to help address issues of literacy, personal responsibility, and growth.”
“Rehabilitation was once a stated goal of the U. S. Prison System, but funding today has been reduced or eliminated for education and rehabilitation programs, including prison libraries,” Professor of Marketing & Management and Republican Club Advisor Dr. Constance Rossum said.
With close to one percent of the population incarcerated, the U.S. has numerous inmates that are no longer in contact with friends and family and often do not have access to books. Yet, hundreds of letters are sent to the Prison Library Project requesting books each week. There is a constant demand for both new and used books.
More than 22,000 books, magazines, and audiotapes are mailed to inmates and prisons, recovery centers, and women’s shelters throughout the country, free of charge each year.
In order to meet the constant demand, new or gently used books are requested and can be donated to Claremont Forum at 586 W. First Street, in Claremont. Books can also be donated on Sundays at the Claremont Farmer’s Market in addition to the university’s Republican Club drive in Wilson Library.
In addition to collecting and mailing books, the store also sells books to raise money to cover the cost of mailing, which averages about $500 per week.
Books that are requested include dictionaries, thesauruses, blank journals, Korans, Torahs, Bibles, self-help and inspirational books, Sudoku books, crossword puzzle/word games books and best sellers. Books on Black, Latino and Native American history and Spanish language books are also popular. There is no need for textbooks and encyclopedias.
“ULV College Republican Club supports the Forum’s efforts to encourage rehabilitation through literacy and connections,” Rossum said.