Legal Aid Announces “The New Jim Crow” Book Drive to Empower Incarcerated Clients at State Correction Facilities

The Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project announced a book drive today to empower incarcerated clients at New York State correctional facilities with “The New Jim Crow” written by civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander.

Over the last several weeks, both New York and New Jersey rescinded controversial policies that would have severely limited access that incarcerate people have to books, food and other items. In New Jersey and North Carolina, facing public backlash, both states lifted bans placed on “The New Jim Crow,” the best-selling book about the connection between racism and mass incarceration.

Through an Amazon Wishlist, the public will be able to purchase “The New Jim Crow” for The Legal Aid Society staff to directly mail incarcerated New Yorkers in state correctional facilities. The wish list is accessible here.

The New York Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of New Jersey will also help the Society publicize the drive.

“Our incarcerated clients should never be cut off from accessing books of empowerment that especially unpack the hard truths and explain the inequities with our criminal justice system,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “No jurisdiction should stand in the way of incarcerated people accessing this important literature. We hope to collect hundreds of books over the coming weeks to send directly to our clients in Correctional custody all over New York State.”

“It is unthinkable that we are still discussing banned books in 2018,” said Joshua Norkin, project coordinator at the Decarceration Project. “We should be empowering people to better understand what they are experiencing first-hand—that their incarceration and the failings of the criminal justice system fit within the larger context of racism in America.”