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Blog Posts by Subject: Social Services

Lamenting the Greater Fall: 19th Century Prison Reform and The Women's Prison Association Records

An entry from Isaac T. Hopper's logbook of released prison inmates

November 27, 1846: "William Haynes, a native of Ireland, has been in this country about two years and six months.  He was sent to Blackwells Island three months for selling pernicious books."

December 30, 1846: "John H. Gilman, 41 years old, a native of Vermont, was convicted in this city for forgery in passing counterfeit money and sentenced to Sing Sing for seven years and three months."

January 22, 1847: "Cecelia Elizabeth Doremus, a native of this City 

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Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

I recently read Doris Lessing's 1987 collection of essays, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. As an intern with the Correctional Services Program at NYPL, the book had layers of meaning for me. Lessing shares her wisdom, her unapologetic inquiries, and her unique experience through four essays on human behavior.Read More ›

Controlled Chaos: A Day Working the Rikers Island Book Cart

Another day of volunteering at Rikers Island with the NYPL has come to a close. Thursday I went to one of the male detention houses along with my mentor and two other staff members from NYPL. We were there for "book cart service," which is a little different than what I remember from Shawshank Redemption.Read More ›

Books Behind Bars

I spent the first week of March working with the Correctional Services Librarian at the New York Public Library. It was part of an internship through the University of Michigan's School of Information designed to be carried out during our alternative spring break week.Read More ›

Correctional Services: Libraries on the Island

For twenty years, New York Public Library's Correctional Services program has provided books to people incarcerated at Rikers Island jail and provided reference services by mail to people in prison throughout the state.Read More ›
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