To everyone who took action and emailed the Bureau of Prisons, thank you! On Sept. 14, Sojourners helped break the story that the federal government had created a list of acceptable religious books and purged all other books from the religious libraries. Often these stories fade away and are quickly replaced by the latest crisis, but because of our readers' dedication and persistence (demonstrated by sending over 21,000 emails in just over a week), the Bureau of Prisons has reversed its policy!
According to their statement provided to NPR yesterday:
In response to concerns expressed by members of several religious communities, the Bureau of Prisons has decided to alter its planned course of action with respect to the Chapel Library Project. The Bureau will begin immediately to return to chapel libraries materials that were removed in June 2007, with the exception of any publications that have been found to be inappropriate.
I received a note today from a friend who works with prison inmates that I would like to share with all of you. It states, "On behalf of all federal inmates and chaplains, I thank you for your crucial part in accomplishing this." This is not just a thank you to Sojourners, but this is a thank you to each and every one of you who took action.
Kevin Lum is the congregational network coordinator for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.