One Maryland, One Book Program Comes to Maryland Prison
Author and New York Times reporter to host book discussion Monday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.

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TOWSON, MD (September 22, 2010) --- During a unique literacy promotion for correctional libraries, inmates from the Division of Correction’s (DOC) Jessup Correctional Institution will meet Monday, September 27 with author and New York Times reporter Warren St. John. The inmates, and many Marylanders, have read St. John’s book Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference. The book was chosen this year for the One Maryland, One Book program run by the Maryland Humanities Council.

One Maryland, One Book is designed to bring together diverse people through the experience of reading the same book and participating in book group discussion. This is the first time the program has brought the author of the selected text to a Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) prison library.

Media is invited to the 2 p.m. book discussion group. Inmates will be available for interviews after the event. Please RSVP to Erin Julius above if planning to attend.

Education while in prison – to include independent reading and library use – supports an offender’s successful re-entry and re-integration into the community.

“Most of these offenders return to society. We must educate them so they have the tools to make different choices, to find employment and choose a different path than the one that brought them here,” DOC Commissioner J. Michael Stouffer said.

For the many offenders who come to prison illiterate, the correctional education program begins with basic literacy classes. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) oversees the education function at DPSCS institutions. Inmates have the chance to earn their GEDs, and then enroll in advanced education, occupational skills and workforce development programs. In Fiscal Year 2010, 87% of available academic slots for DOC’s inmate population were filled.