A prison "book club": to read is to grow/know

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From the time I was a child 'til I became an adult, my mother read to me and stressed strongly the importance of reading. She said it "was a part of knowing, having knowledge of something -- people, places, and things." I look at it now, as allowing the mind to travel to places I'm (temporarily) unable to experience at this moment, yet [reading] is a beautiful thing.

We have said [in prison] "if I should have, could have, would have..." If I had known or read a book about the law, perhaps I wouldn't be in this present state. But now, since obtaining that knowledge of the law and other place, people, and things, I feel it's my duty to share with others that which is of benefit and it's not my intent to take the credit. The credit is due in part to my family and the Prison Book Program.

Reading is essential to us inmates 'cause it sort of supplies us with an even-plain when looking into the window of society, and that's speaking specifically about when we're reading materials from or concerning the outside world. Needless to say, reading helps us know and understand the laws and constitution of this government. Upon arriving here in prison, one is given an "orientation manual" which basically contains rules. One must know these things in order to make one's time easier. A fellow prisoner and myself now have a sort of "book club", where we not only share books, but --when time presents -- we discuss issues and topics too. In doing so it kind of reduces the violence 'cause now and then you have a small portion of the yard engaging in something beneficial and positive.

Reading is exercise to the mind as a workout is to the body; they both work hand in hand, not to mention give relief from stress as well as anxiety and depression.

Hope this helps somebody. To read is to grow/know.

-Submitted by Tyrone Williams
Menard CC, Illinois

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