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PRESS RELEASE: Book Donation Acceptance Process

Released April 3, 2019

Contact Jeremy Barclay, (360) 515-6661

DOC Communications

TUMWATER – The Washington Department of Corrections is dedicated to ensuring safety for incarcerated individuals, staff and the greater community. Various strategies have been implemented to reduce the introduction of drugs and other contraband into its correctional facilities. The department chose to implement a policy to discontinue directly accepting used books from nonprofit organizations to ensure publications were free of contraband. Over the most recent five calendar years, there has been an increase in contraband involving books, including 17 instances in 2018.

“The Department of Corrections takes very seriously any and all introductions of contraband into the state’s correctional system,” said Secretary Sinclair. “By streamlining the used book donation process, the department is working to strengthen security processes.”

The incarcerated population has robust access to books through our strong partnership and contract with the Washington State Library system. There are full libraries in eight of the twelve facilities and the library conducts a comprehensive inter-library loan system for the remaining four minimum facilities.

“I am a big supporter of reading and facilitating access to a wide-range of books and reading materials,” said Sinclair. “At this time, all donated books will continue to channel through the available resource of the State Library for screening. By my directive, the Department will arrange a series of meetings with current book donating nonprofits to best guarantee that security of institutions can be met and that books can continue to most effectively reach incarcerated individuals for their educational opportunities and idle time relief.”

Book donations are accepted by the Washington State Library satellite locations at the prisons. The Washington State Library has both staffing and systems in place to evaluate a publication’s content and check for contraband introduction. If an individual is taking a book donation to a prison, the individual should request to speak with the facility’s librarian to accept or deny the donation. The librarian can also provide more information about the types of donations they are actively seeking.