Victory

Open the Reading Room for the children of inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institution

This petition made change with 376 supporters!


In 2000, former First Lady Hope Taft approached the Director about establishing a reading room for the children who visited their incarcerated parent at the Pickaway Correctional Institution. This idea spread across the state, and now the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction maintains children’s reading rooms in each prison. 

The reading rooms encourage family literacy by providing a pleasant and comfortable setting for both child and incarcerated parent. Each room is stocked with a wide variety of children’s books and has an inmate narrator who reads to the visiting children twice a day. The role of the inmate narrator is to read picture books to the children in much the same manner that children’s hour would be done at a public library. 

A variety of arts and craft supplies for the children are also available in most of the rooms. Many of the supplies and books are donated by employees and service organizations.

 

Lake Erie Correctional was recently purchased from the state of Ohio and is now a privately owned prison, owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The reading room is a room inside the visitation area for kids. There are books, games,a TV with movies, and all kinds of things to keep kids involved. Kids are encouraged to bring the books and games back to their incarcerated father's so they can have some kid-friendly interaction time. Lake Erie Correctional's reading room has been closed for OVER A YEAR NOW. I have no idea why Lake Erie decided to close theirs, but it's not OK and I want to do something about it. My mother spent money out of her own pockets to donate puzzles to keep at the guard's desk in the visitation area. They now have a handful of puzzles the children can play with, but that's not enough. I've seen close to 20 children at a time visiting with their fathers. The kids deserve the right to have the reading room open.

Ironically, they have the room closed, but in their rules it states that if you can't control your kids you will be kicked out of visitation. The kids must sit at their chairs the entire 2-3 hour visit, aside from going to get food from the vending machine. Give them the option of having the reading room open, let them interact with their fathers, it's the right thing to do.

There seems to be an easy solution to all this that everyone is missing, open the reading room again. This obviously beneficial resource should be available. Stop the recidivism! 

Children of inmates should not be punished, they should be allowed to visit and interact with their fathers and the reading room should be open. I am starting this petition to get CCA’s attention to get the reading room back open



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