Education and Job Training
Library Services provides print and audio-visual materials essential to support the activities of the institution's other education and treatment programs, resources to permit inmates to achieve functional literacy and to provide inmates with access to current information and to promote reading. And, per order of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bounds v. Smith (1977) and Lewis v. Casey (1996), the Department of Corrections is required to provide inmates with access to legal information and services. The department complies with this requirement by providing inmates with access to law library collections, trained inmate law clerks, and related legal services, such as copying, notary and supply services for insolvent inmates.
The department provides General Library Services to all inmates in correctional institutions and to inmates housed in work camps, forestry camps, and drug treatment centers attached to correctional institutions. At the end of FY 96-97, there were 65 general library programs in major institutions and work camps supervised by library professionals. During FY96-97, general library programs were open to inmates an average of 263 days; were visited 1,584,979 times by inmates; loaned 1,185,168 books, 1,086,531 newspapers and periodicals to inmates; and librarians answered 158,100 reference questions; and conducted 14,491 special programs, including library orientation, audio-visual programs, discussion groups, and Black History, Women's History, and Rainbow Cultural Unity month activities. Library Services also implemented a $67,000 Library Services and Construction Act grant to expand library programming and collections in 12 institutions.
The department provides Law Library and Related Legal Services to inmates by providing inmates access to 45 major collection law libraries, 21 minor collection law libraries, and three starter collection law libraries. This year, inmates received legal research assistance on 623,406 occasions. Library Services also instituted an enhanced law clerk training program two week seminars taught by the department's Law Library Services Attorney, other DC staff and licensed legal practitioners. During FY96-97, six training seminars were conducted, two for youthful offenders and four for adults, in which 119 inmate law clerks were trained.