Former ND State Senator Trying To Help Inmates Through Education
You can donate at NDSU's Renaissance Hall Suite 110 until March 15th.
FARGO, N.D. — According to the Prison Policy Initiative, over two million Americans are being held in the prison system. It’s one of the highest rates per capita in the world.
That’s why former North Dakota State Senator Tim Flakoll started a book drive to help with inmate reform.
“People have a chance to use them during their free time, which is a lot and to really ensure that we are doing something so that when they come out that they are better than when they went in,” Flakoll said.
Flakoll says the of rate inmates ending up back behind bars after serving their sentence in the country is too high.
He says the system fails to prepare ex-convicts with employment and housing opportunities and is lacking the preparation for re-entry when they are incarcerated.
Flakoll says by donating books, it helps inmates learn and grow, so when they finish their sentence, they are better prepared for the outside world.
“I thought it was just a great way for people who have books that they already have read and are just sitting on the shelf, maybe Christmas came around maybe they have new books, and they just need to make some room, so this is a great way for them to share books with others,” Flakoll said.
A recent study by Rand Corporation found when prisoners are given access to educational tools; the rate of returning inmates cuts nearly in half.
He says that by providing these people with the knowledge, we not only help them but also help our community as a whole.
“We all have books we share with people so why not here and say let’s make a difference because when they serve their time, they have a new lease on life, we want to have them becoming engaged in the community, go out and get a great job and really become people who are taxpayers in essence,” Flakoll said.
He says just locking people up in an endless cycle without providing any opportunity for an inmate to thrive will only cost taxpayers cash and hurt families.
“Every an incarcerated person I think at the state penitentiary is over 50 thousand dollars that’s not good for the taxpayer, that’s not good for their families, that’s not good for their kids because they want mom or dad home too,” Flakoll said.
Flakoll says he is looking for a variety of books to teach various kinds of skill sets and self help books.
He says he’s limited donations to 10 books per person and will only accept soft cover books to follow prison guidelines.
You can donate at NDSU’s Renaissance Hall Suite 110 until March 15th.