Let Hood County Inmates Have Books Again!
Let Hood County Inmates Have Books Again!
To whom it may concern;
It has come to my attention that Hood County Jail has recently changed their policies regarding literature sent to inmates via third party sources such as Amazon. As of two months ago, inmates may no longer receive ANY books through the mail other than a Bible.
This is, in my opinion, cruel and unusual punishment. I have been informed by former inmates that the facility does not allow inmates access to a law library. It is unclear how long the facility has been without a law library, or if they have ever offered one.
The jail's visitation system has changed so that visitors must now sign up and schedule visits online. This policy change directly affects the elderly and those without internet access so that they can no longer visit their loved ones.
Inmates with documented medical conditions are not allowed to have lifesaving prescription medications, such as inhalers, that have already been paid for even if they are unopened. They must instead see a doctor at the facility and let them prescribe medication. This results in medical bills that must be paid or the inmate cannot receive commissary.
So as a result we now have inmates who cannot see their families. They cannot receive commissary. They cannot access a legal library. And friends and family members can no longer send reading material.
These inmates deserve a chance to better themselves. They deserve a chance to educate themselves. Correctional facilities should help correct criminal behavior. Not make it worse. If we let these people sit in there with nothing to read but a Bible and Danielle Steele novels we're creating a breeding ground for ignorance, depression, religious extremism, and violent behavior.
In this country people are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Many of these inmates have not even been convicted of a crime, but are still awaiting their court date. Many of them are nonviolent. Some of them may even be innocent. affoMany cannot afford to bond out. Some choose not to bond out so that they can qualify for court appointed representation. In this county people are often told they cannot have court appointed representation after posting bond. They are told that if they can afford bond, they can afford a lawyer. Even if that bond was paid by someone else.
This county is in the midst of a meth epidemic. The majority of men and women in our jail are there for nonviolent, drug related offenses. We can work together as a community to at least try and combat the problem. Our current system clearly isn't working. People are coming out of our jails and prisons worse than they went in. If we treat people like animals they will behave like animals. Education is crucial to rehabilitation.
Inmates should be allowed to receive books. They deserve a law library. Everyone benefits from access to information; to literature. Everyone deserves a chance to better themselves.
I once got over 5,000 people in this town to stand up and defend a statue. Won't you please stand with me now and demand that Hood County Jail once again allow inmates to receive literature from a trusted source? Please sign my petition, and share with your friends. Let's stand together and repeal this ridiculous ban on books!
*I am editing this at 136 signitures to reply to Mr. Turbeville's kind response to this petition. After researching these new tablets, I found some interesting information that inmates and their families might want to have. The tablets won't be "free" exactly. They will still be very costly to use. If you have a loved one in jail, you should read this. I urge you all to do your own research as well. I still believe we should be able to send our inmates books. Especially when they have medical bills we cannot pay and already cannot receive commissary or buy phone cards.
I'm simply asking that we be allowed to send inmates books from reliable sources once again. If hoarding, theft, and fire hazards are concerns, as Captain Turbeville indicated, these could be addressed by simply limiting the amount of books an inmate can possess before donating them to the common library or having them placed in their property. A reasonable limit of appropriate books (5 perhaps?) does not seem too much to ask. What do you say Captain? How about a compromise rather than an outright ban?