GENERAL LIBRARY PROGRAM
DOCCS’ General Library Program offers inmates library services and programs in a manner similar to those offered by public libraries in the community. General Libraries also offer resources and services that support and enhance the department’s other programs, especially: Academic Education, Transitional Services, Guidance and Counseling, and Substance Abuse Treatment. Reading materials are also available for inmates who are new readers or who are monolingual in Spanish or other languages. Most libraries have subscriptions to popular magazines and many home town newspapers.
Each facility General Library is affiliated with the public library system that serves its region. Through these connections, inmates and staff are afforded interlibrary loan of books, periodicals, videos and other media.
Large libraries are staffed by professional librarians. Some facilities also have civilian library clerks; most libraries employ inmate clerks who work in entry level jobs to high level clerical positions. Inmate library workers obtain valuable skills that expand their career options upon release.
Department Directive 4470, "General Library Services," establishes guidelines for the operation of this program.
DOCCS' General Library Program has three goals:
- To meet the educational, informational, recreational needs and re-entry of the inmate population, and the staff who serve them, through the provision of well-balanced collections of library resources (books and other media), interlibrary loan services and reference services.
- To encourage inmates’ self-awareness and personal growth by offering library programming such as: book and film discussions, lectures, cultural presentations, poetry readings, author visits and workshops. Programs should support and enhance the service, treatment and educational offerings of the Departments and facility’s other programs.
- To demonstrate and promote the value of library use so that inmates will be able to make effective use of public libraries upon their return to the community. To this end, every effort is made to organize DOCCS General Library operations on the public library model, including the use of automated card catalogs and circulation systems and CD-ROM and DVD reference tools.
- To train inmates as effective library support workers, capable of undertaking a variety of appropriately supervised library tasks, and providing them with marketable skills upon their release
All inmates in general confinement facilities are eligible for library services. Inmates who are not permitted to visit a facility’s General Library Program, because of their disciplinary or protective custody status or their health, may receive outreach services from the General Library.
Most correctional facilities offer inmates a General Library Program. Inmates who are assigned to work release facilities may avail themselves of public library services in the community.
LAW LIBRARY PROGRAM
DOCCS’ Law Library Program provides inmates with basic resources for legal research and preparation of legal papers. Legal assistance services are available to inmates who are unable to do their own legal work. Inmate law clerks, who have been certified through a department-sponsored legal research course, provide these legal assistance services or refer inmates to free legal service organizations in the community.
Other services usually available through the Law Library Program include: notary services, photocopying of legal materials for a fee, typing services and provision of legal writing supplies.
Law Library Programs are administered at the correctional facilities by the Deputy Superintendent for Programs or equivalent. The daily operations of Law Libraries are managed by a Correction Officer or another staff member. Most Law Libraries employ inmates who work as Book Clerks, Typists, Legal General Clerks, Paralegal Assistants, or Administrative Clerks.
Department Directive 4483, "Law Libraries, Inmate Legal Assistance and Notary Public Services," establishes guidelines for the operation of this program.
DOCCS’ Law Library Program has been developed to meet the United State Supreme Court mandate that inmates have access to the courts.
All inmates in general confinement facilities are eligible for Law Library services. Inmates with verifiable court deadlines may obtain special access to the Law Library. Inmates who are not permitted to visit a facility’s Law Library Program, because of their disciplinary or protective custody status or their health, may receive outreach services from the Law Library.
Legal Research Courses are available at the larger correctional facilities. These courses are offered to provide the Department with a cadre of trained inmate law clerks who assist in maintaining the law book collections and who provide free legal assistance services to their peers. Participation in these courses is limited to inmates who have a GED or higher education credential and a satisfactory disciplinary record. Legal Research Certificates are issued to inmates who successfully pass this course.
Most correctional facilities offer inmates a Law Library Program. Inmates who are assigned to work release facilities may avail themselves of free legal assistance services or law libraries in the community.