Partnerships

fREADom INSIDE Project

The Corrective Services library service noticed requests for reading materials skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown and whilst they are able to meet requests, we all know how wonderful it is to have access to great new books. Through 2020-2021 independent bookstores and Australian authors have also been struggling with lockdowns and mass event cancellations. Through consultation with the Women’s Justice Network’s Advisory Panel, women who have previously been incarcerated have been able to make a list of books and authors that they would have appreciated receiving when they were inside. This list has been checked by the Corrective Services library team to make sure the donations can be accepted. As you can see, women inside have the same varied and voracious appetites as the rest of us. Donating a children’s book will allow a woman inside to read a bedtime story to a child outside via video call, the latest thrillers offer hours of escape, and something like The Barefoot Investor helps for future planning.

Gleebooks have very generously agreed to facilitate the program and provide free shipping for these donations to get to the central library for distribution – just use the code “freadom” at the checkout.

The Women’s Justice Network (WJN) is a grassroots community organisation committed to advancing the prospects and wellbeing of women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system. Their vision is that all women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system live free from violence and discrimination, benefit from adequate living standards, are treated with dignity and respect and are empowered to secure and preserve their individual rights. Engaging programs like this one, and maintaining strong connections with the community, helps with the wellbeing of incarcerated women and reduces recidivism.
Author and journalist Bri Lee established the FREADom INSIDE Project in direct and ongoing consultation with Women’s Justice Network, Gleebooks, and the Corrective Services library service. Together they are working towards a program of book clubs and other reading programs for incarcerated women and youth.

Please visit the Freadom Inside webpage at Gleebooks to view the book titles and to place an order.

Author and journalist Bri Lee established the FREADom INSIDE Project in direct and ongoing consultation with Women’s Justice Network, Gleebooks, and the Corrective Services library service. Together they provided the means for  people to buy books to donate directly to the women currently incarcerated in New South Wales. They are now  working towards a program of book clubs and other reading programs for incarcerated women and youth. Engaging programs like this one, and maintaining strong connections with the community, helps with the wellbeing of incarcerated women and reduces recidivism.

Stage 1: Book Donation Drive

Stage 1 of the project was launched in November 2021 with the help of Gleebooks and since then, over $30,000 worth of books have been purchased and sent straight to correctional facilities. 

The initial goal was to get more, and better books to women incarcerated in New South Wales.  Book recommendations were made by members of the  Women’s Justice Network’s Advisory Panel, women with lived experience of incarceration who suggested the types of books they would have appreciated receiving when they were inside.  Children’s books will allow a woman inside to read a bedtime story to a child outside via video call, the latest thrillers offer hours of escape, and something like The Barefoot Investor helps for future planning.

This list  was checked by the Corrective Services library team to make sure the reading material was appropriate.  Gleebooks very generously agreed to facilitate the program and provide free shipping for these donations to get to the central library for distribution – just use the code “freadom” at the checkout.

Please visit the Freadom Inside webpage at Gleebooks to view the book titles and to place an order.

 

Stage 2: Book Clubs CrowdFunding Campaign

The success of Stage 1 of the program has encouraged NSW Corrective Services to expedite the process and possibility of having tablets with public library logins accessible to incarcerated women. he support and success of this initiative has encouraged us to take the next step and provide these women with even more and better reading and learning experiences.

We are now crowdfunding to run a year of book club programs for women inside New South Wales correctional facilities. The BookClubs will be facilitated by women who know what it is like to be in their situation. It’s an opportunity to connect with others and it provides a mechanism for sharing similar experiences. It also gives the women an activity to look forward to, building confidence and

communication skills and engaging and educational opportunities like this are beneficial for reducing recidivism

MAKE A DONATION to support this initiative. 

 

Donating second hand books

While we appreciate the  generous offers of book donations for women in NSW prisons, the Women’s Justice Network does not have the capacity to accept or store books in our office. You can however make donations directly to  Library Services for the Freedom Inside project. Please read the Message below as there is a procedure to follow before making donations.

 

Message from the Manager, Library Services

Corrective Services NSW | Department of Communities and Justice

 

We are happy to receive donations of books for our inmate libraries.  These can supplement the budget that we have available to maintain the supply and currency of books.   We have a donations policy in place to manage security risks and because we have limited space and staff capacity for storing and processing donations.

It is best for books to be donated to our Brush Farm Academy Library as we manage distribution to all inmate libraries from here.  Please see address details below. 

Our strong preference is for new or near-new books which have been published in the last twenty years and are in paperback format, as many centres will not accept hardcover books for security reasons.  We do have some restrictions on content.  We need to review content that could compromise safety, security and discipline in the centres.  Religious books also go through further suitability checks.  Unfortunately, books that are deemed unsuitable cannot be returned to the donor.

 If the donation is more than one box of books or you want to check that the content will be acceptable, please call or email ahead (02 9804 5459) Contact_BFCSA@dcj.nsw.gov.au before arranging delivery.  This also gives our library team a chance to plan space and resources to process the books.  Once we receive books they are sorted then catalogued and covered before being sent out to the inmate libraries.  This process can take several months due to the large volume of books that we manage. 

Deliveries should be made to:

Attention: Library

Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy

66 Terry Road (entry via Lawson St)

Eastwood NSW 2122