Prison Book Program sponsors Books Behind Bars panel discussion at Boston Book Festival

By Nancy E. Oliveira

On Saturday, October 27, 2012 the Boston Book Festival will host a panel discussion—Books Behind Bars—sponsored by the Prison Book Program.  Hear formerly incarcerated people, and literacy organization representatives who serve prison populations, discuss how books and reading have impacted their lives both in and out of prison.

“Pam Boiros from the Prison Book Project has put together a wonderful panel for the Boston Book Festival,” says UMass Dartmouth professor Robert Waxler. “I am honored she has asked me to serve as moderator and look forward to an exciting discussion about the power of books to change lives. Come and participate in the conversation.”

Panelists include: William Gaul, Judge Robert Kane, Michael Krupa, and Edson Monteiro.

The panel discussion starts at 4pm in the Boston Public Library’s Commonwealth room. It is free and open to the public.

The Books Behind Bars panel discussion is one of many free events taking place at this year’s Boston Book Festival, held at the Boston Public Library and the surrounding Copley Square area.

Learn more about the Prison Book Program.

Learn more about the Boston Book Festival.

Learn more about Books Behind Bars.


3 thoughts on “Prison Book Program sponsors Books Behind Bars panel discussion at Boston Book Festival

  1. I attended this panel and was not totally satisfied. While I appreciate that the panel was included in the Book Festival, and think increased attention being paid to the drawbacks of the criminal justice system can only be positive, I was disappointed by the tone of the conversation. It seemed that the white half of the panel, who are all in positions of power within the justice system and affiliated organizations, talked about how great it is that learning programs such as these exist, while the people of color half of the panel, who have both been imprisoned, talked about how miserable jail is and how necessary it is to have something to sustain you while you’re doing time.

    These viewpoints, while perhaps seeming congruent, are not. Is it good that we are providing some, limited enrichment to some small portion of the prison population? Yes. But is it enough? Is it something of which judges and prosecutors should talk about how proud they are? Is it something which should be lauded, with no discussion of how punitive and cruel the institution of prison (especially as it currently exists in America) is? No.

    We can’t get lost in praising a particularly compassionate idea at the expense of calling for reform and/or eradication of the hostile, punitive environment prisons represent on the whole.

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