Friday, July 10, 2015

Library director says literacy can lessen prison numbers

Jennifer Sweeney
Libraries Unlimited, [2012]

Library director says literacy can lessen prison numbers

Hammond Star: 7.09.2015 by Lauren Langlois

Promoting literacy would help reduce the prison population, the director of the Tangipahoa Parish Library System told the Amite Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

"The more people who can read, the fewer people we put behind bars," said Barry Bradford, director of TPLS.

Citing a study from Northeastern University, Bradford said that those who did not graduate from high school are 63 times more likely to end up in jail than college graduates.

He also pointed to the national statistics that say 60 percent of inmates and 85 percent of juveniles in the justice system are functionally illiterate.
Bradford said that while it may not be as expedient as building more jails to relieve cramped prisons, investing in early childhood literacy will be a long lasting solution to the country's huge prison population.

"Let's invest in [children]," he said.

Bradford said the library is helping to promote literacy in young children with its Baby and Me program, which invites parents/guardians to play and sing with their six- to 36-month-old babies.

This helps the young ones to learn through playing, while developing motor and socializing skills. It also shows that reading books can be fun, as well as important, he told the chamber members.  READ MORE !

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